Trade Marks Act 2002

If you need more information about this Act, please contact the administering agency: Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment

Registrability of non-distinctive trade marks

18 Non-distinctive trade mark not registrable


The Commissioner must not register—


a sign that is not a trade mark:


a trade mark that has no distinctive character:


a trade mark that consists only of signs or indications that may serve, in trade, to designate the kind, quality, quantity, intended purpose, value, geographical origin, time of production of goods or of rendering of services, or other characteristics of goods or services:


a trade mark that consists only of signs or indications that have become customary in the current language or in the bona fide and established practices of trade.


The Commissioner must not refuse to register a trade mark under subsection (1)(b), (c), or (d) if, before the date of application for registration, as a result of either the use made of it or of any other circumstances, the trade mark has acquired a distinctive character.

Compare: Trade Marks Act 1998 s 7(1)–(3) (Singapore)

Section 18(1)(c): amended, on 15 December 2005, by section 4 of the Trade Marks Amendment Act 2005 (2005 No 116).