In recent years, the term ‘fluid trade mark’ has become more and more common in relation to business on the internet and in the commercial space generally. So what is a Fluid Trademark?
As the name suggests, fluid trade marks are marks that change over time. With the evolution of the digital era, it is important that business keep up to date with trends and continue maintain the public’s attention. By essence, fluid trademarks are interactive and flashy and these qualities assist in the creation of a lasting relationship between consumers and brands.
Examples of Fluid Trade Marks
One of the best known examples of a successful fluid trade mark is the Google® ‘Doodle’. The ‘Doodle’ is a variant of the Google® logo (underlying trade mark) which appears on Google®’s home page. For example, during a particular holiday or special anniversary, Google® uses a variant of its trade mark that incorporates images associated with that particular event.
Some examples include:
- UAE Independence Day (2010)
- 30th Anniversary of PacMan (2010)
- Google’s 15th Birthday (2013)
Fluid Trade Marks: Challenges
While fluid trademarks appear to be a good idea and allow business to keep up to date with the evolution of the digital era, there are some challenges that arise from the use of fluid trademark include:
- The trademarks may become vulnerable to removal for non-use on the basis that they are not being used their ‘original’ (registered) form;
- Due to the ever-changing nature of fluid trademarks, it opens up the possibility of third parties creating their own variations. This could be difficult to monitor and prevent;
- Also due to the ever changing nature of fluid trademarks, the public could become confused as to the owner origin of the trademark.
However, most of the challenges can be avoided or at least minimised if you have a strong basic (underlying) trademark.
Fluid trade marks are great tools that allow brand owners to engage and interact with the public in an age where almost everything is digital. However, fluid trade marks do present some challenges/legal risks that should be considered before a brand owner decides to adopt an ever changing trade mark.