ohimlogo_enSpotted over at Slator today: a great article on conflicting EU rulings regarding trademarks in translation.

Marion Marking, in her Slator piece, highlighted how the application for the trademark “The English Cut” was ruled to conflict with the Spanish language version of the same phrase, “El Corte Inglés” whereas use of the English fairy tale character name “Red Riding Hood” would not interfere with the German rendition of “Rotkäppchen.” Suffice it to say, this problem is not going to be resolved overnight.

It’s not a unique case either. Back in 2010, the EU saw the “Golden Balls / Ballon d’Or” case where an English couple with a 2001 trademark for “Golden Balls” went up against FIFA itself. The Bodurs finally won the dispute in 2013.

The Office for Harmonization for the Internal Market has more information on the law and practices involved in getting your brand recognized as a Community trade mark (CTM) across the EU.

This issue of trademark translation is not limited to the EU. If filing at the USPTO, you are generally required to provide an English translation of any foreign terms when used as a trademark.

The Ministry of Commerce for China produced a series of highly instructive articles. Both Part I and Part II highlight different aspects of trademark translation. Interestingly the Ministry of Commerce did not jut focus on the pragmatics of trademark translation, but also the aesthetics, which they refer to as “formal beauty.”

How have you dealt with trademark translation at your company? Do you have any products or services you are planning to localize in the near future? Contact us at [email protected]. We’d love to hear your own war stories, thoughts, and plans.