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Going with VISA -- even to Montenegro

In April 2009 Visa International Service Association -- the US multinational financial services corporation -- applied to register the slogan MORE PEOPLE AROUND THE WORLD GO WITH VISA for services in Class 36. The Montenegrin Intellectual Property Office (IPO) rejected the application, finding that the mark’s “general appearance did not enable the goods/services to be distinguished in the course of trade”: it was just a simple and trivial claim that “a lot of people around the world go with Visa”; it was neither distinctive nor suitable to distinguish the services at issue in the course of trade. Further, it designated exclusively the type, purpose, time or method of production, quality, price, quantity, weight or geographical origin of the goods/services”, specifying that the mark designated the type of services in Class 36 -- financial affairs -- carried out through Visa credit cards.

Visa disagreed with both findings, identifying in its response a number of slogans registered in Montenegro. Visa explained that slogans often appear to be simple claims that are easy to remember. Further, the purpose of a slogan is to advertise -- that is, to create an association in customers' minds between the slogan and the source of the product, and to motivate customers to use a certain product or service. Visa explained that this particular slogan was not a simple claim: it represented a subtle invitation to use Visa cards. Visa also pointed out that the mark contained the distinctive element 'Visa', which is protected by three trade mark registrations in Montenegro; the slogan should not therefore be held to be non-distinctive. Nor did the slogan did designate these services in any way. 

Finally, Visa presented numerous registrations that had already been obtained for the slogan worldwide, as well as for two similar trade marks (PEOPLE EVERYWHERE GO WITH VISA and MORE PEOPLE GO WITH VISA) which were registered Community trade marks -- marks that will be protected under the Montenegrin legal system once Montenegro joins the European Union.

The IPO accepted Visa's arguments and invited Visa to pay the registration fees.  

Source: note by Jasna Jusic, PETOŠEVIC, Podgorica, World Trademark Review, 4 July 2012  

Posted by: Blog Administrator @ 05.53
Tags: Montenegro, registrability, slogans,
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MARQUES does not guarantee the accuracy of the information in this blog. The views are those of the individual contributors and do not necessarily reflect those of MARQUES. Seek professional advice before action on any information included here.

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