Which sign cannot be a trade mark?

A trade mark must be capable of distinguishing the goods or services designated by it from other similar goods or services. Therefore, any sign cannot be a trade mark. All business owners should have access to certain signs.

For example, the following signs cannot be trade marks:

  • Signs which indicate the characteristics of goods or services and which are indistinguishable.

The type, quality, geographical origin, purpose, etc. of the good or service can all be considered characteristics.

For example
SOFT BREAD for bakery products
TALLINN SCHOOL for educational services
BEST PAINTERS for construction services
dairy product.ee for sales services
saunaequipment.com for sales services
TireChange24 for car maintenance services

NB! Signs showing the minimum design features are also not registrable!

CarWash  CarWash for car maintenance service

*BABY* for children's goods

Best quality!!    for all goods and services

A picture can also be used to indicate characteristics such as the type or purpose of the goods.


to mark lamb


to mark mosquito repellents


  • Signs which have become customary in the particular field of activity or in general business practice.
  • Signs which are of such nature as to mislead the consumer.

For example

The word "coffee" appears in the trademark, although protection is requested for the items "tea and cocoa."

  • Genuine and ordinary images of products or packages.

For example


for tableware


for fresh fruit


for dairy and juices

  • Images or symbols widely used in the service area.

For example


for legal services

roheline rist

for pharmacy services

  • Signs which are contrary to public order or accepted principles of morality.

For example, words, phrases, or symbols with vulgar, harassing, offensive, or threatening content, as well as names of prohibited drugs, are not suitable trade marks.

If a non-distinctive, descriptive or customary sign is included in a trade mark, it is not subject to protection. The proprietor of the trade mark does not have an exclusive right for the use of that part of the trade mark, i.e. such signs can be used freely by other entrepreneurs, even if the registered trade mark contains any of them.

As an exception the non-distinctive, descriptive or customary sign can be registered as a trade mark if it has acquired a distinctive character during the long-time consistent use of a trade mark. A trade mark has acquired the distinctive character if it is known to the target group of the particular goods or services.

  • Jaga

Last updated: 06.06.2022