A non-conventional or nontraditional trademark is a type of trademark which does not belong to any pre-existing or conventional trademark category. Non-conventional trademarks are often difficult to register, but does fulfill the essential trademark function of uniquely identifying the products or service.
Conventional trademarks include letters, numerals, words, logos, pictures, symbols, or combinations of one or more of these elements), and non-conventional trademarks includes visible signs (e.g. colors, shapes, moving images, holograms, positions), or non-visible signs (e.g. sounds, scents, tastes, textures).
Single color trademarks, motion trademarks, hologram trademarks, shape trademarks (3D trademarks), and sound trademarks (Aural trademarks) have become more widely accepted in recent times as a result of legislative changes dealing with intellectual property, such as the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights, which sets down a standardized inclusive legal definition.
In the United Kingdom, colors have been granted trademark protection when used in specific, limited contexts such as packaging or marketing. In the United States, it is possible, in some cases, for color alone to function as a trademark. Originally, color was considered not a valid feature to register a trademark.
Scent trademarks (Olfactory trademarks or Smell trademarks), which are sometimes specifically mentioned in legislative definitions of trademark, are often difficult to register because consistent, non-arbitrary and meaningful graphic representations of the marks cannot be produced. This tends to be an issue with all types of non-conventional trademarks, especially in Europe.
Motion trademarks that are also known as animated marks, moving marks, moving image marks or movement marks that are featured on web browsers in the top right hand corner of the screen which are visible when the browser is in the process of resolving a website are entirely new types of marks are also very difficult to register, often because they are not formally recognized as a trademark.