7-Eleven seeks colour trademark

7-Eleven seeks colour trademark

A man talks on a mobile phone outside a 7-Eleven convenience store in Tokyo. (Reuters Photo)
A man talks on a mobile phone outside a 7-Eleven convenience store in Tokyo. (Reuters Photo)

TOKYO — The operator of 7-Eleven stores in Japan has applied for a trademark for the colour combination of orange, green and red featured in its logo.

The application by Seven-Eleven Japan Co is one of 470 made to the Japan Patent Office under a new system adopted on April 1 for non-traditional trademarks such as sounds and colours.

The revised Trademark Law reflects growing demand from businesses to protect a more diverse range of distinctive branding methods — especially on the internet — such as the use of logos with sound effects and motion graphics.

In addition to letters, shapes and three-dimensional objects, motion, holograms, colours, sounds and geographical location names are accepted as trademarks under the new rule.

The move is aimed at better protecting companies' intellectual property and supporting their branding strategies, an official of the office said.

In just the first three days since applications opened, the office said it received about 190 applications for colour trademarks, 140 for sounds, roughly 100 for geographical location names and around 30 for motion.

For Seven-Eleven Japan, protecting its distinctive colours is no small matter. It is not unusual to see independent shops in Japan and other countries using the same colours, as the public associates them with a branded convenience store.

Other companies have applied to trademark tunes used in their TV commercials. Registration makes procedures easier for companies to apply for registration of the same trademarks in foreign countries.

Such non-traditional trademarks are already protected in countries including the United States and Australia. For example, the jewellery retailer Tiffany & Co has registered the blue colour of its iconic boxes in the United States.

Do you like the content of this article?