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The oldest registered trademarks in the world.

For a long time I’ve wanted to write about the oldest registered trademarks in the world. Preparing this material was a great fun for me. I felt like an archaeologist who, after shreds of information, tries to reach some potsherd . It was interesting because many trademarks were related to suprising stories.

Trademarks in antiquity.

The oldest registered trademarks in the world.People have always invented inventions or used various signs in trade.

In the distant past, however, there was no law protecting this kind of intellectual property. No one, therefore, registered his trademarks because there were no Patent Offices.

Although it must also be clearly stated that the signs used at that time met exactly the same functions as at present.

For example, in antiquity, ceramics often had signs indicating the person of the producer.

As you can see on the right, it was an octopus.

Trademarks in the Middle Ages.

In the Middle Ages, trademarks were used by craft guilds.

The oldest registered trademarks in the world.Craftsmen assembled within guilds had an obligation to use a specific mark. The product marking was primarily aimed at identifying the product with its manufacturer. This was also an information about the high quality of products from a given craftsman.

However, with time it became obvious that one man is not able to produce as many products as needed. This task was commissioned to the journeymen of the given plant.

The trademark itself, therefore, began to serve as a master’s guarantee of the quality of the marked goods. And for attempting to falsify such marking, severe punishment was threatened.

At that time, the then rulers gave privileges to use certain trademarks. However, it is fair to say that they did it only for financial reasons. The person concerned paid the ruler the high price for the hereby privilege.

Trademarks during the industrial revolution.

The eighteenth and nineteenth centuries are a period of intense economic development in Western Europe thanks to:

  • establishing economic freedom;
  • the abolition of guilds, and
  • cancellation of privileges.

The oldest registered trademarks in the world.The industrial revolution taking place at that time turned out to be a breakthrough. Many of the inventions that came into being at that time fueled the technological progress incredibly.

As a result, production has become cheaper and more goods have been launched on the market. In this situation, the importance of trademarks grew.

Placing them on the goods allowed to distinguish the producers from the goods of the competition. For the consumers, the signs allowed them to make conscious purchasing decisions.

Certain brands began to enjoy greater popularity, which in turn encouraged the competition to copy them.

And such conditions of growing, not always honest competition required the introduction of a law that would protect entrepreneurs.
The effect of this was that in the 19th century, the first laws defining the rules for the registration of trademarks were passed in many countries. On their basis, also national patent offices were created, which kept registers of protected trademarks.

Now I will show you what is the most interesting, that is specific examples.

The oldest registered trademark in the world.

When I initiated working on this article, I started by looking for the oldest trademark in the world. Everywhere I read that it is a British mark from 1876. Only that I found the Czech beer trademark PILSNER from 1859:

The oldest registered trademarks in the 111602

At first I thought it might be some error in the database.

Only that on the website of the Czech patent office you can check how this trademark was successively renewed every 10 years. And I did not say the most important one.

Almost 160 years have passed and it is still in force!

So when I was on vacation in the Czech Republic I decided to find it.

And I succeeded!

The oldest registered trademarks in the world.


The oldest registered trademarks
– Great Britain –

In Great Britain, the trademark registration act was passed there in 1875. Formally from the next year, the British Patent Office began work.

The first trademark was registered by the Bass company.

The oldest registered trademarks in the world.UK00000000001

The trademark was used to mark beer. Perhaps you associate it because it is produced until today in only slightly refreshed graphics.

The oldest registered trademarks in the world.

An interesting story is associated with this trademark.

It is told that the employee of Bass company spent the New Year’s Eve night on the stairs of the Patent Office to be the first to file an application to protect the brand of this beer. And he succeeded! Bass received the first two registrations.

And that’s the trademark I read about in many publications that it is the oldest in the world.

Interestingly, just like the Czech trademark – it is still in force.

In the British registers I also found another interesting trademark, which protection has been extended successively since 1878.

The oldest registered trademarks in the world.UK00000015023

This trademark is used to mark canned ham.

The oldest registered trademarks in the world.
As you can see, it was advertised in an interesting way.

The oldest registered trademarks in the world.

The oldest registered trademarks
– United States –

Unfortunately, it is not known what the first filed trademark in the USA looked like. However, what was possible to determine is the work of an amazing coincidence.

Well, around 2000, an employee of the US Patent Office found an old, dusty book in the archive. He did not really know what it was, but he was intrigued by the date on it: July 1870. He felt that he was holding something important in his hands.

And actually!

It turned out that he found the first official register of American trademarks.

The oldest registered trademarks in the world.

As you can see, there is information that the first trademark was filed on July 28, 1870. What is interesting, 3 months later the another trademark was formally the first trademark which was registered.

From what we know from the description, this trademark was used to mark paints and depicted an eagle holding a pot of paint in its beak and a pennant bearing the inscription “Economical Beautiful”.

The problem is that there is absolutely no reproduction of this trademark anywhere. And I was looking at the websites of Patent Offices around the world, on American law blogs and even in scientific publications.

At some point, I lost hope.

My mind was just racing because if the trademark was found, it’s photo would be everywhere. At least on the website of the US Patent Office. I had this strange feeling, so I decided to find out if there are any product packages from the company’s products on the Internet.

And that’s how I found their stencil paint from 1867.

The oldest registered trademarks in the world.

You should see how happy I was 🙂

The logo matched to the description of the trademark in the register. There is an eagle holding paint in its beak. The inscription on the sash is correct. And most importantly, it’s the reproduction from the materials of the company that filed this trademark for protection.

The oldest registered trademarks in the world.
So after a long search I found the first registered trademark in the United States. A trademark that everyone is writing about, but nobody has seen it.

SAMSON – officially the oldest trademark

A few years after the registration of this trademark, the American Supreme Court recognized the provisions on the basis of which it was granted protection for unconstitutional.

Formally, the oldest is now a trademark depicting the biblical Samson fighting with the lion.

The oldest registered trademarks in the world.This mark was registered in 1884 and, like its Czech and British predecessor – it is still in force!

However, there are more such over 100 years old trademarks.

Undoubtedly you associate the trademark registered in 1893:

The oldest registered trademarks in the world.
There is also a registered in 1897 trademark:

The oldest registered trademarks in the world.

This brand is known in Poland for ketchups.
In the same year, the following trademark was registered:

The oldest registered trademarks in the world.

John Deere is a well-known all over the world the manufacturer of agricultural machinery. By the way, in one of the articles on my blog, I pointed out that John Deere registered his characteristic green and yellow painting:

The oldest registered trademarks in the world.

The oldest registered trademarks
– Denmark –

But let’s go back to the old continent.

Since 1880, this Danish trademark has been constantly protected:

The oldest registered trademarks.

VR 1880 00049


The oldest registered trademarks
– Sweden –

In Sweden, exactly on January 2, 1885, the following two trademarks were registered:

The oldest registered trademarks in the world.Both are still in force.


The oldest registered trademarks
– Norway –

In 1885, the first Norwegian trademark was also registered.

The oldest registered trademarks in the world.

No. 1885100

Its protection expired relatively recently in 2005.
There is another trademark in force registered in the same year.

The oldest registered trademarks in the world.

No. 1885281

The trademark is used to mark cotton threads.


The oldest registered trademarks
– Finland –

In Finland, the first trademark was registered in 1891.

The oldest registered trademarks in the world.It was used to mark cotton.


The oldest registered trademarks
– Spain –

The oldest Spanish trademark was registered in 1893.

The oldest registered trademarks in the world.


The oldest registered trademarks
– Germany –

Here, the trademark that proudly holds number 1 was registered in the word version in 1894.


It was used to mark the lamps.

The trademark is in force to this day. It is said that it is automatically renewed by the German Patent Office for historical reasons.

Trademark number 2 is as follows:

The oldest registered trademarks in the world.As I checked, it expired in 2010.

In the context of Germany, the following trademark is often considered the oldest:

The oldest registered trademarks in the world.According to my calculations wrongly because it was formally registered in 1896. Perhaps, many people pay attention at the date of application, which took place 21 years earlier. I guarantee that you have dealt with this trademark many times. Especially if you were a student.

You will find it on popular highlighters.

The oldest registered trademarks in the world.

Of course, its protection is prolonged to this day.

Before I go further, I wanted to show you one German trademark.

The oldest registered trademarks in the world.

No. 2377

There’s no accounting for taste, but this trademark just captivated me 🙂

And as a curiosity, I will tell you that its protection expired in 2011.


The oldest registered trademarks
– Australia –

In Australia, the Trademark Act came into force in 1905.

Previously, the four former British colonies had their own local registers of trademarks. After the Act came into force, these rights were still in force, though without the possibility of extending them.

The first trademark was formally registered in 1906.

The oldest registered trademarks in the world.

No. 1

It was used to mark chemical substances used in medicine.


The oldest registered trademarks

And finally, Poland.

There’s a reason why I am talking about my country at the end of my article. When the first national acts regarding trademarks were passed, Poland was not on the maps of the world. In the nineteenth century, we were covered by the laws of the partitioning powers. On my blog I have thoroughly described the history of the oldest Polish trademark:

The oldest registered trademarks in the world.


This trademark was filed for protection in 1918 in one of our partitioning powers. It was used to mark ultramarine.

Formally, under the transitional provisions, it obtained protection in Poland on April 11, 1924. This time shift was caused by the then Minister of Industry and Trade. In 1919, he ordered to stop the proceedings for granting patents and registration of trademarks.

The idea was that our economy after the war needed time to rebuild. 5 years later Polish Patent Office has already started to work normally.

The protection of the oldest trademark has already expired, but I was curious, which one is still in force. It turned out that there is registered to this day a trademark which was filed 5 days after the first one.

The oldest registered trademarks in the world.


It is used to mark, inter alia pipe connectors.

Among the other recognizable trademarks being still in force I found trademarks:

  • KODAK for marking of cameras (1925) R-003311;
  • CAMEL for marking of tobacco and cigarettes (1925) R-004993;
  • LUCKY STRIKE for marking of tobacco (1925) R-008010;
  • GILLETTE for shaving blades (1925) R-009049;
  • MILKA for marking of chocolate and confectionery (1925) R-009635;


figurative trademark STEINWAY (1925)

The oldest registered trademarks in the world.


This trademark is designed for marking hand-made pianos:

The oldest registered trademarks in the world.Mypouss from Rennes, France – Steinway à Leipzig (CC BY-SA 2.0)



That’s pretty much everything about interesting trademarks I found the information about.

With this article, I wanted to show you that the industrial property that I deal with at work is a relatively young field of law. If we assume that it was born together with the Paris Convention in 1883, it is not even 150 years old.

For comparison, the foundations of today’s civil law are found in Roman law from over 2000 years.

It is also interesting that the protection of the trademark consecutively prolonged may be eternal.

This principle is not functioning with industrial designs or patents, because a maximum term of protection is 25 and 20 years respectively.

Finally, I encourage you to watch the following recording.

Mikołaj Lech

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Mikołaj Lech

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