Brazilian media company loses ringtone battle

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TrademarkImage source, GRUPO GLOBO
Image caption,
The graphic representation of TV Globo's ringtone was not enough to persuade a court to register it as a trademark

A Brazilian media company has lost an appeal against a ruling banning it from using a ringtone as its trademark.

Globo Comunicacao e Participacoes asked the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) to register the sound in 2014.

But EUIPO refused their request, saying it had "no distinctive character" and was a "banal and commonplace" ringtone which was not easily distinguishable.

The European Union's General Court has now upheld the decision.

The Court said that all sounds could constitute a trademark if they were represented graphically, as the Grupo Globo one was.

However, it felt that members of the public would think the suggested ringtone - which it described as only a "'standard' ringing sound" - was simply a part of their mobile device and not something which would distinguish the broadcaster.

The Court also felt the ringtone was not distinctive enough to be recognised as a trademark for TV programmes.

It said: "As regards the television broadcasting services and the services which may be provided in the form of television programmes, the Court applies the same reasoning by stating that the sound mark, owing to its banality, will be perceived by the public as indicating the beginning or end of a television programme.

"Since the mark applied for is devoid of any distinctive character, the Court holds that EUIPO did not err in refusing to register it."