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Flag ban for trademarks

September 2020. It is not known to everyone, but registering a logo that incorporates a flag is prohibited. Trademarks with flags do not get a registration. Chiever took a look around in the Benelux trademark register and found some interesting examples of refused ‘flag brands’.

Trademarks that were refused because of the presence of the Dutch flag

Regardless of which flag

In the Benelux, of course, it’s not just the Dutch, Belgian and Luxembourg flag, but flags from all over the world. The background to this ‘flag ban’ is that countries must stay in control of their flags and that the public must not be misled about the origin of the products.

Trademarks with tiny little flags are also refused

Size

The size of the flag does not seem to matter either: even logos that have a tiny flag hidden inside are refused.

These trade marks were rejected because of the flag

Regardless of flag shape

It also doesn’t matter if the flag doesn’t have the shape of a flag, but is round, for example. It’s all covered by the flag ban.

Find the Belgian flag!

Mystery

But it can also go too far. It was a mystery to us why this logo, LC Waikiki, was rejected. Until we discovered the Belgian flag after a lot of searching. This seems a bit excessive by the Benelux trademark office!

Bas Kist