Trial process Für Elise
To find out, Chiever’s partners registered the first nine tones of Für Elise in the form of a music stave as a trademark in the Benelux and started a trial process. The case eventually ended up at the European Court, which ruled in 2003.
Since this case, Europeans now know sounds can also be protected as a trademark in the European Union under certain conditions. If you submit an image of the trademark – in this case, a musical stave – that’s sufficiently clear and self-contained, the sound will receive trademark protection.
It’s thanks to the Für Elise test case that sounds are now regularly registered as trademarks. Due to technology development, the visual representation requirements for trademark registration have now been dropped. It’s no longer mandatory to submit a trademark image. A digital sound fragment is also accepted, making more types of sounds eligible for trademark protection.