IHMA Endorses Holograms Being Covered under National Trademark Law

SUNBURY, UK | The International Hologram Mfrs. Assn. (IHMA) has welcomed a move which could lead to holograms being specifically covered under a national trademark law for the first time. It follows news from Taiwan where government authorities have introduced a bill to expand the types of representation protected by trademark law by including holograms, 3D shapes, and movements for the first time. The idea is that anything that serves to ‘identify’ something, whether in the form of words, patterns, graphics, colors, holograms or sounds, could be submitted for trademark protection in Taiwan.

The IHMA says that this will boost the protection of the intellectual property rights of holograms and will be a boon for brand owners looking to protect their products and market share. To date, holograms have been considered covered by copyright law (as covered in the Berne Conventions) and the European Community Design Rights, but they have not been mentioned specifically in any national legislation on trademark or copyright. Thus, the Taiwanese move is a step forward for the “normalization” of holograms as a protected item, according to an IHMA press release.

If the revised law is passed, says Wang Mei-hua, director-general of Taiwan’s Ministry of Economic AffairsIntellectual Property Office (IPO), animation and holograms that appear on mobile phones potentially also could receive trademark protection. She said the Nokia Corp. image that appears when its cell phones are turned on has already been registered as a trademark in several countries, and the firm also could apply for protection in Taiwan if the draft bill is passed.

The US media representative for the IHMA, Glenn Wood, welcomed the news, adding: “This has got to be seen as a step in the right direction as holograms play a vital part in the battle to stem the flood of counterfeit goods emanating from Taiwan and other parts of the world. It should help all involved in anti-counterfeiting and brand protection and could pave the way for similar moves around the world, which has to come eventually.”

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