The Law of Unintended Consequences runs to blog posts … I’d added in my Marmite v Bovril post a painting by Manet “A Bar at the Folies-Bergère” which features a bottle of Bass Beer with the Red Triangle logo in ‘full view’ …
… the Bass company was a pioneer in international brand marketing, which thanks to Bazza, from the blog “To Discover Ice”, we found out about via his comment.
Listening to University Challenge recently, the question arose ‘what was the first Trade Mark to be registered in the UK’ … well I knew that answer!
|"A bar at the Folies-Bergere" -|
by Edouard Manet (1882)
The Trade Mark Registration Act of 1875, came into force on 1 January 1876 with Bass being the first to register two of their images as trade marks: the Bass Red Triangle for their pale ale and the Bass Red Diamond for their strong ale.
In UK law, the term as defined under the Trade Marks Act 1994 is “trade mark”, not “trademark” as in the laws of other countries, including the US.
A trade mark can be a name, word, phrase, logo, symbol, design, image, sound, shape, signature or any combination of these elements: it’s a complicated legal guarantee that needs to be correctly registered with, in our case, the UK Intellectual Property Office.
In 1862 the Merchandise Marks Act made it a criminal offence to imitate another’s trade mark “with intent to defraud or to enable another to defraud”.
|An early advertisement for|
Bass' No.1 Barley Wine
In 1875 the Trade Marks Registration Act was passed which allowed formal registration of trade marks at the UK Patent Office for the first time. Registration was considered to comprise prima facie evidence of ownership of a trade mark, with the Bass images as trade marks being the first registered on New Year’s Day 1876.
We now have the Trade Marks Act 1994, which implements the European Trade Marks Directive into national law. This adds another complicated law into our legal way of life … and will perhaps need to be unravelled in the course of Brexit.
At this point I close the conversation – as my main object has been achieved: highlighting the start of obvious brand advertising in paintings in this country – to which Edouard Manet and Picasso (in his Cubist period around 1914) subscribed; while in an episode of James Joyce’s Ulysses, Bloom, the fictional protagonist, observes the Bass logo.
|A road sign in the City of London|
I would think in the scheme of life – brand advertising has been around for millennia … with perhaps the images associated with particular trades, which appeared on carts, wagons, building walls, doorways, via town criers etc as the most obvious to apply …
|The Worshipful Company of|
… while in trade mark treatises it is thought that blacksmiths who made swords in the Roman Empire are thought of as being the first users of trade marks. Henry III in 1266, required by law, that all bakers use a distinctive mark for the bread they sold …
Now brand names are appearing everywhere … and we cannot get away from them … that red triangle and red diamond being the first two … when formalisation of trade marks became regulated in the 1800s …
I will be posting this on Thursday … as some of us will be completely switching off on Friday, or become totally embroiled in what the land beyond the pond is serving up … I shall, I hope, be lost in some creative space – yes: I have a busy day!
Bazza's blog: To Discover Ice
Trade Mark Law - 10 Things You Should Know
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