There are a lot of brands that have acquired popularity and distinctiveness based on the way their labels and logos are placed on a given product. But did you know that these brands have the right to claim monopoly over the positioning of their label on products? Well, a ‘position trademark‘, falling under the category of ‘unconventional trademarks’, allows proprietors to claim rights over the way their label is placed on a product, based on its distinctiveness. Having said the same, the legality of position marks is still comparatively new and unexplored by jurisdictions around the world.

Position trademarks play a vital role in the pharmaceutical industry, providing companies with a distinct competitive advantage and safeguarding their valuable products. In this blog post, we will explore what position trademarks are, why they are crucial in the pharmaceutical sector, and how they benefit both companies and consumers.

What are Position Trademarks?

Position trademarks are unique symbols, logos, or designs that distinguish a particular product or service from others in the market. Unlike traditional trademarks that focus on names or words, position trademarks rely on the specific positioning or arrangement of visual elements to create a recognizable identity.

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) defines ‘position trademark’‘ as ‘a sign, represented graphically, positioned on a particular part of a product in a constant size or particular proportion to the product’. Hence, a position Trademark consists of two aspects – the mark itself and the position/ placement of the mark on a product.

Position trademarks are becoming increasingly important in the pharmaceutical industry. A position trademark is a type of trademark that identifies a product based on its unique position or function. In the case of pharmaceuticals, this can be an important tool for creating brand recognition and differentiation in a crowded market.

Pharmaceutical companies often invest significant resources into developing and marketing its products. With so many drugs available to consumers, it can be difficult for companies to differentiate their products from competitors. Position trademarks offer a way for companies to stand out by highlighting the unique benefits or features of their products.

An example of this is STADA Arzneimittel AG’s for packaging which shows the position of a pink corner design and their STADA logo. These elements are used consistently across a number of their products.


Importance of Position Trademarks in the Pharmaceutical Industry:
  1. Differentiation and Branding: In an industry as competitive as pharmaceuticals, standing out from the crowd is crucial. Position trademarks allow companies to differentiate their products visually, enabling consumers to easily recognize and associate them with a specific brand. This visual distinction aids in building brand awareness and loyalty, ultimately influencing consumers’ purchasing decisions.
  2. Product Identification and Safety: Pharmaceutical products often have intricate packaging and labeling requirements due to their critical nature. Position trademarks help in clear and consistent identification of products, reducing the risk of medication errors and enhancing patient safety. By visually guiding consumers to identify genuine products, these trademarks also serve as a defense against counterfeiting.
  3. Intellectual Property Protection: Position trademarks provide legal protection to pharmaceutical companies’ intellectual property, such as unique product designs, packaging layouts, or graphic elements. Registering these trademarks with relevant authorities grants companies exclusive rights, preventing competitors from using similar positioning in their products. This protection helps safeguard investments in research, development, and marketing, encouraging innovation in the industry.
  4. Building Trust and Reputation: Establishing a strong brand reputation is crucial in the pharmaceutical sector, where trust and credibility are paramount. Position trademarks contribute to creating a consistent brand image, signaling quality, reliability, and innovation. By associating specific visual elements with positive attributes, companies can build trust with healthcare professionals and patients, fostering long-term relationships and brand loyalty.
  5. Global Recognition and Expansion: As pharmaceutical companies expand their operations globally, position trademarks facilitate recognition across borders and cultural boundaries. A well-designed trademark can transcend language barriers, enabling international consumers to identify and trust the brand. This recognition can significantly impact market penetration and facilitate successful expansion into new markets.

In addition to making it easier for consumers and doctors to identify and remember products, position trademarks can also offer legal protection for pharmaceutical companies. By registering a position trade mark with the United States Patent and Trade Mark Office (USPTO), companies can prevent competitors from using similar names or descriptions for their own products. This can help to prevent confusion in the marketplace and protect the company’s brand reputation.

In conclusion, position trademarks are an important tool for pharmaceutical companies to differentiate their products and create brand recognition. By highlighting the unique benefits or features of their products, companies can increase the likelihood that their products will be top-of-mind for doctors and consumers alike. Additionally, registering a position trademark can offer legal protection for the company and prevent confusion in the marketplace. As such, position trademarks are becoming an increasingly important part of the pharmaceutical industry. Position trademarks hold immense importance in the pharmaceutical industry, serving as powerful tools for brand differentiation, product identification, intellectual property protection, and reputation building. By investing in well-crafted trademarks, pharmaceutical companies can establish a unique visual identity, build trust with consumers, and gain a competitive edge in an increasingly crowded market.

Author –  Shyamli Shukla (Associate)

Co-Author – Mehul Shokeen (Intern)