Christmas – A festival of trademarks

Christmas is a time for tranquility, contemplation and the family. But, it is also a time of consumption: Many people receive a 13th salary or holiday bonus which they spend on presents, decoration and at Christmas markets. Approx 20% of the trades revenue is generated on and around Christmas. Therefore, companies try to “trademark” Christmas. As a result of that, competition is fierce during the holiday season. The office responsible for the registrations of trademarks in the EU, OHIM, reports numerous registered trademarks that incorporate “Christmas”. For example, HELLO SANTA (USPTO: Serial No.: 78655862) for toy telephones designed to simulate calls to Santa Clause in the North Pole; THE CHRISTMAS FACTORY (OHIM: CTM No.: 008726101) for Christmas decoration; the movie heading THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS (OHIM: CTM No.:  004601183) and WHITE CHRISTMAS (OHIM: CTM No.: 012140794). Below you can see some further holiday season word / device marks:     OHIM: CTM No.: 004586863; OHIM: CTM No.: 003362845; OHIM: CTM No.: 012063624 But, there are also many Christmas combinations which were not able to be registered as trademarks: For example, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) decided “MERRY CHRISTMAS” (Serial No. 78161138) for non-alcoholic juice beverages is not distinctive and gives no indication for the origin of the product. The Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM) refused, for similar reasons, the applications "CHRISTMAS BLEND" (CTMA No.: 000595140) for coffee and “Silent night holy night - the Christmas concert” (CTMA No.: 006442487) for picture and audio carriers. Therefore, it is important to think and plan a “Christmas Trademark” carefully. Not every name is protectable as a trademark. And, the question always remains, how far does its protection in case of infringement reach.