FLUID MARKS- WHAT’S THE DEAL ABOUT IT:
Fluid marks are the same as trademarks but with a twist in the existing mark. The companies establish their brand with a brand name or logo, which becomes a part of their business, and by going with the flow with the market trends, they modify their existing mark to promote a social cause or market situation and so on.
To be precise, fluid marks modify existing trademarks to make their marks eye-catching and capture the consumer’s mind. These are considered an excellent marketing tool to promote the business by promoting the cause, event, or festival happening worldwide.
When the companies have established their brand in the market, it becomes a challenge to keep up the brand’s name and reputation, fluid marks being an extension to the original trademarks, help them secure customer retention, and have a strong customer base. A peculiar thing about fluid marks is that it still resembles the basic elements of the registered Trademark so that it becomes easy for the customers to trace the brand.
These marks are aesthetically created to modify the brand logo to build brand loyalty and improve market presence. These marks are very peculiar in their presence and are generally for a shorter period. It keeps evolving and changing. That is, they are very dynamic.
For example, the mascot visual concept of AMUL GIRL has been an excellent extension to the existing Trademark of the AMUL, and over the years, the brand has been known for the mascot appearance on all its products packaging. The Young Girl wearing Polka dots and tied ponytail has become an identity; there have been several occasions where The Amul used the girl to depict the quality, thought, and intention of producing the product. No wonder packaging makes a lot of difference.
BENEFITS OF FLUID MARKS:
- They are very eye-catching and aesthetic.
- They increase customer retention.
- They improve the product and company presence in the market.
- Establishes brand loyalty.
- Variations are part of the business – this makes the customers feel that the brand is socially cautious.
- It is one of the dynamic marketing tool and mode of promoting the brands.
BUZZ FEED – CHALLENGES
There are a few practical problems in adopting fluid marks:
- If the brand is not popular and keeps adopting fluid marks, it might become challenging for things to work as desired. There are probabilities that instead of gaining customer retention, it can confuse the customers regarding the product’s presence in the market.
- If limited, variations can be very welcoming, but continuous variations in the mark might result in the loss of the essence of the original Trademark.
- If the company adopts variations, it might lead to a Trademark’s cancellation on non-use of the mark. Abandonment of the existing Trademark is the major issue while adopting variations.
- Lack of protection to existing fluid marks makes it impossible for enforcement under the law to claim against infringement on design, slogan, or visual representation.
CAN WE REGISTER THE FLUID MARKS?
Fluid trademarks and slogans are excellent marketing tools as they engage customers and improve sales, but their enforceability remains challenging.
The concept of legal protection when it comes to fluid marks is quite blurred and foggy. There is no such clause in the entire Trademark which accords protection to fluid marks. It is always important to register the underlying brand before introducing the fluid mark in the market. It is not practically possible to register every variant – time-consuming and expensive, but the company always has an option of registering them under “Series Mark.”
To protect the fluid marks, the best practice is to approach through the registration of the original mark. However, over time, the courts have accorded fluid marks the protection equivalent to the unregistered marks, and passing off action can be maintained.
In any case, Copyright law may also be particularly helpful to protect the artistic elements in the new variant of a brand as it grants an inherent right to the owner and does not require registration. However, there are no judicial precedents in this regard to date.
EXAMPLES OF FLUID MARKS:
GOOGLE DOODLE: The most innovative and interactive fluid mark of all time is the Google Doodle. Google adopted the most evident brand promotional idea. It is a known fact that Google, as such, is a very popular search engine and has established its brand. Still, the concept of Google doodle was proved to be the best marketing concept.
If you are planning to adopt fluid trademarks- the first important step you must follow is contacting an IP Attorney and consult them if the particular mark can be used alongside the existing mark or not.
It would be best if you answered this entire question to be very sure about the mark.
- Whether the underlying mark has acquired distinctiveness?
- Whether the fluid mark is distinctive?
- Whether the mark to be adopted shows some concept or cause to attract the customers?
- Whether the scheme of the mark is in a similar thread with the original mark?
- Whether the mark on its adoptions will lead to confusion?
- Whether your brand has goodwill and reputation and the new brand will not confuse?
Editors note: Fluid marks being the effective promotional tool lax enforcement under the Indian legal regime. If not for fluid marks, adopting other strategies can help you with business growth; we encourage you to consult your lawyers before adopting the mark.