How can applicant deal with a trademark disclaimer in Laos?
A trademark disclaimer is construed as a declaration issued by the owner of a trademark declaring that the trademark does not contain specific rights to certain terms or features included in the trademark. This statement is provided by the trademark owner. The purpose of a disclaimer is to clarify the scope of trademark rights and eliminate any potential for confusion with comparable trademarks.
Laos has disclaimer practice (i.e., a practice whereby the applicant must disclaim any exclusive right to an element of a trademark that is not distinctive). In practice, it is not mandatory to clearly indicate a disclaimer to the element that is not distinctive in the application form. The Departement of Intellectual Property of Laos will automatically consider those non-distinctive elements disclaimed.
Upon examining trademark applications, if it is determined that a particular element of the applied-for mark cannot be granted monopoly protection, DIP will notify the applicant that such element cannot be protected exclusively so as not to prevent other manufacturers or providers from using the same element for goods or services indicating the same qualities or characteristics.
If a trademark application contains descriptive words or generic terms, DIP will ask the applicant to clarify whether or not they are included in the mark. If a term is a part of the mark, DIP must notify the trademark applicant to modify the mark by removing such term
Reasons for a trademark disclaimer in Laos:
(i) Descriptiveness: If a part of the trademark is found to be merely descriptive of the goods or services, it may be necessary to disclaim the descriptive element in order to obtain trademark registration.
(ii) Geographic Indication: If a part of the trademark includes a geographic indication, such as the name of a city or state, it may be necessary to disclaim the geographic indication in order to obtain trademark registration.
(iii) Generic Terms: If a part of the trademark is a common or generic term for the goods or services, it may be necessary to disclaim the generic term in order to obtain trademark registration.