Exclusive rights on the use of expression “SRS AIRBAG” denied by Colombian PTO
The Colombian PTO (SIC) has recently clarified that even though the mixed trademark “SRS AIRBAG” was granted in 2014 by means of Resolution 79932, this decision did not grant exclusive rights to the applicant for the use of the expression “SRS AIRBAG”.
Granted mixed trademark:
In August 2013, after Metrokia had filed an opposition against the granting of the claimed trademark for the identification of safety devices for vehicles, apparatus for locomotion by land, air or water, SIC announced the rejection of the application. Consequently, the applicant lodged an appeal against SIC´s decision arguing that the term “SRS” did not have a meaning that indicated its origin, so the expression “SRS AIRBAG” was distinctive enough to be granted.
SIC then decided to grant the trademark but clarified that the expression “SRS AIRBAG” corresponds to the acronym “Supplementary/Secondary Restraint System” plus the term AIRBAG, “which refers to any device that seeks to limit the movements of a passenger in order to prevent injuries or accidents and complement other protection systems,” such as safety belts. Therefore, SIC declared that nobody can own said expression.
“This is another case where the SIC, following the applicable regulations and jurisprudence of the Andean Court, has considered that trademarks consist of identifying sets that should be understood as a whole. If they consist of both graphic and nominative elements (also known as mixed trademarks), they may be granted although some of the constitutive elements cannot be protected,” said José Luis Londoño Fernández, SIC’s Deputy Superintendent of Industrial Property.
Consequently, this means that, even though the mixed trademark “SRS AIRBAG” has been granted in Colombia, producers and traders of the technology “SRS AIRBAG” are allowed to continue using said term.