You see brands everywhere. A color, a tune and even the shape of a product can already provide brand recognition. These kinds of signs are not always perceived as trademarks, unlike a word or logo. For that reason, trademark holders have more trouble to register these kind of signs as a trademark.
Filing short films (multimedia and motion) as a trademark is currently popular in the EU. Take for example the Netflix intro that is shown before you start the series. The catchy PABAM! marks another episode of Peaky Blinders or Atypical. Distinctive? Certainly! This intro has now been filed as trademark and has also been accepted by the EUIPO. The acceptance is mainly due to the N that is shown. The sound fragment, which was described as “The mark consists of a sound mark including two sixteenth note timpani strikes on D2 and D3, simultaneously which are played with three dotted half notes on D2, D4, and D5” was previously rejected by the EUIPO due to a lack of distinctive character.
It is up to the trademark holder to prove that a mark has acquired distinctive character and that the consumer perceives the sound fragment as a trademark. Generally, you need market research and proof of brand awareness for this. A difficult, expensive and time-consuming job. This probably was the reason that Netflix eventually abandoned the appeal and withdrew the trademark application. But for us, the PABAM! sound is very distinctive.