Intellectual property rights play a crucial role in the marketing strategy of all kinds of an increasing number of companies, and it involves a set of processes, creations and communications offerings which have value for the clients, customers or society in general. Marketing necessarily generates intangible assets that may be protected by intellectual property rights. In fact, this is the first significative aspect of the influence of intellectual property rights on marketing strategies: the protection of intangible assets in a marketing campaign.
Notwithstanding the above, enthusiastically drawing the attention of clients or customers and attempting to outdo the competition, marketing campaigns sometimes exceed legal limitations, especially concerning the respect of intellectual property rights duly protected by law. In this sense, the compliance of marketing strategies to what is allowed by law is also a crucial aspect where marketing and intellectual property must go hand in hand. An unlawful campaign can conceivably effect the communication strategy itself and has strong legal consequences.
Types of intellectual property rights that may be involved in marketing campaigns
New commercial names, logos, domain names, product names, slogans, flyers, white papers, brochures, newsletters, landing pages or website designs are some examples which are part of the marketing communication and strategy. Whether they are protected or not, in the particular case, by intellectual property rights will depend on whether or not they fulfill the respective requirements for protection. However, at least in theory, they all can be protected. The extension and the way of protection will differ according to the kind of asset in question.
A trademark is a sign (word or figurative), which identifies products or services of a particular source from those of others. In the marketing advertisement it is a common occurrence to see new signs launched in the communication. These signs are usually sub-brands which, together or not with the main brand of the company, emerge as a brand-new communication to launch a new product, service or advantage for the relevant public. Being distinctive signals and respecting the principle of novelty for marks, they should be registered as trademarks.
The same concept should be applied to advertising slogans. However, due to their nature, as has been shown in many European Court cases (see cases T-476/08 "Best Buy"...