Hear It Here - Nokia Gets A U.S. Trademark Registration For Its Ring Tone
By: DEAN R. KARAU
Everyone thinks of trademarks as brand names, such as
NIKE® APPLE® KODAK® XEROX®
and logos, such as
But trademarks can literally be almost anything – sounds, scents, even movement – that helps a consumer connect a product to a single source for that product.
The United States Patent and Trademark Office recently issued Registration No. 3288274 to Nokia for its default ring tone for its cell phones, which Nokia described as comprised of a C eighth note, E flat eight note, B flat eighth note, G quarter note, C eighth note and C quarter note:
Nokia’s International Registration explained the sound of its mark this way:
Courts have supported sound marks: “A sound mark depends upon aural perception of the listener which may be as fleeting as the sound itself unless, of course, the sound is so inherently different or distinctive that it attaches to the subliminal mind of the listener to be awakened when heard and to be associated with the source or event with which it is struck.” If the sound can be associated with the source of a product or service, it can serve as a trademark.
Other registered sound marks include (click on the note to hear the sound):
If your product “sounds” like a winner to you, you may want to protect that sound with a trademark registration.
You can find more examples of registered sound marks at http://www.uspto.gov/go/kids/kidsound.html.