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German firm fails to trademark !

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A German clothing manufacturer has failed in its bid to register ! as a trade mark, the Telegraph reports.

Joop! pitched two versions of the excitable punctuation mark for consideration - one on its own and another with an ! "inside a rectangular frame".

The Court of First Instance in Luxembourg backed a ruling by the Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market, which controls trade marks within the EU, stating the ! "lacked distinctive character", and was therefore not up for grabs under EU law.

However, the judges did say that the company could register ! "if it became so associated with the company that the public could recognise its products from the symbol alone". This was not the case with Joop!'s supplied evidence, comprising "three photos of jeans to which a piece of cloth, or a label, is attached showing an exclamation mark".

The court noted that even people with "a high degree of attention" would not attribute the !-branded products to Joop!

Yahoo! was unavailable for comment this afternoon! ®

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