Class 41 Trademarks: Badges of Origin in Educational Technology

Class 41 Trademarks: Badges of Origin in Educational Technology

Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 20
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-4555-3.ch008
(Individual Chapters)
No Current Special Offers


Traditionally, a trademark was used as a badge of origin: either a mark, a sign, or a sound that told potential buyers exactly who was offering a particular product or service. Today, the Class 41 trademark denotes a registered educational mark, not solely as a source of revenue, but also as a badge of origin. More often, an educational mark is not meant as a source identifier or even an identifier of an endorsement, but rather to further the expression of the user, to comment or criticize the trademark owner, but also to satirize broader social issues through the juxtaposition of the trademark. New to trademark historical development, perhaps, is the idea that a trademark, whether seen or heard, is an exogenous orienting attentional cue.
Chapter Preview

Trade Marks

Whereas copyright law gives broad rights of control over an original expression, including manuscripts, periodicals, and logos, trade mark law protects consumers from confusion about the source of the word, letter, or sound. “A trade mark is at once an indication of origin and quality, a method of advertising, and a vehicle for investment” (Lemley 2019, p.2). The trade mark framework was designed to balance the interests of the trade mark owner, the competitor, and the consumer.

Trade mark applications must declare a class before they can be examined. Of the 45 classes of goods and services eligible for trade mark registration, Class 41 includes services for education. That said, although Class 41 mentions “education”, the language is not solely educational, but administrative. As written, the educational provisions for Class 41 are idiosyncratic and stochastic. Terms like “distance learning”, “provision of” and “providing for” are used prefunctorily, without description, and too broad and rigid in scope to prescribe conditions of interactive educational services for all learners in all settings. The non-specificity is probably deliberate, to accommodate training, education, and awareness-raising programmes on any number of topics.

The UK Intellectual Property Office

In the UK, the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) is the official government body responsible for intellectual property (IP) rights comprising copyrights, patents, industrial designs, and trade marks. In 2017 the IPO increased their contingent of Trade Mark Examiners to 90 to manage the 55,000 applications for Trade marks (Townley, 2017).

Figure 1.

The Edutec mark was registered under class 41 at the UK’s Intellectual Property Office in February 1996 and renewed in February 2006, specifically for “consultancy in the field of education, training, and the supply of educational materials and equipment”.

Figure 2.

This Edutec mark was registered at the UK’s Intellectual Property Office in August 2000 under several classes. The priority country was Germany. The date of protection of the international registration in UK was April 2002.


Notably, the Class 41 EduTec mark in figure 2is not limited to “training, education and teaching, also using telecommunications media, in particular professional training, continuous training and retraining, including vocational training for young people and management training for company executive staff…” (Gov.UK, 2017). Class 42 is also included but not limited to “the development of computer software and computer programming, in particular information and training programs…” (Gov.UK, 2017). The other services registered within Class 41 are non-educational.

Complete Chapter List

Search this Book: