Volkswagen has announced to introduce a new logo in 2019. As you can see in the overview below, this is not the first time.
Of course, changes in logo’s happen all the time. Once in a while a logo is refreshed or redesigned: a completely new logo is introduced or the distinctive elements of the logo are kept, but in a modern way. What consequences does this have for the registration of a logo?
In the EU, the rule is very simple: you have to use your trademark as registered in the trademark register. But the legislator wanted some flexibility and then it gets more difficult: if the new logo has been changed on minor points only, then the use of the new logo is still seen as use of the old logo. These minor changes are changes that do not affect the distinctive character (i.e. the distinctive elements) of the trademark. In practice, these minor changes concern only the very small differences. With everything else, it is recommended to register the new logo, as you want to avoid having a discussion about this matter in a lawsuit.
For Volkswagen, it is very likely that upcoming months they will be busy with protecting the new logo.
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“Trademark protection gives freedom to do business.”