(CN) – German clothing, jewelry and perfume company JOOP! lost its bid to trademark an exclamation point. The European Court of First Instance said the punctuation mark lacks “distinctive character.”
JOOP! appealed a decision by the European Union’s Office of Harmonization for the Internal Market, rejecting its application to register trademarks for a plain exclamation point and another framed by a thin rectangular border.
Europe’s second-highest court dismissed the appeal on the basis that the marks lack distinctive character.
The marks aren’t capable of identifying an origin, the court ruled, because the consumer wouldn’t distinguish them from “laudatory advertising” or an “eye-catching gimmick.”
And any product association generated by the marks’ use in Germany would not apply across the European community, the court added.
Placing a rectangular frame around an identifying mark, making it look like a label, is such a common practice that it can’t be trademarked either, the court concluded.
The court dismissed the claim and ordered JOOP! to bear the legal costs.