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Do you know the oldest trademark valid in Finland?


Kolster 150

Kolster has protected trademarks throughout its long history, dating back to the late 1800s. The oldest still valid trademark in Finland is Singer, which was registered with Kolster’s assistance in 1898.

Celebrating its 150-year journey this year, Kolster has acted as a trademark agent  in over 44,000 trademark applications in Finland. Among these is Finland’s 100,000th trademark, registered in December 1987.

Finland’s oldest trademark still in force was registered by Kolster in 1898. The mark belongs to the sewing machine manufacturing company The Singer Manufacturing Company (now known as The Singer Company Limited). Kolster continues to represent this trademark in Finland.

Other famous  trademarks registered by Kolster include Mercédès, currently owned by Mercedes-Benz Group AG, and the Saima tobacco brand registered for Ph. U Strengberg & Co Ab in 1902.

“Industrialization, urban migration, and prosperity increased consumption in Finland. Trademark registration was a means to stand out in the market,” explains Kristiina Kaislisto, Partner, European Trademark and Design Attorney, Authorized Trademark and Design Attorney.

Trademark registration became possible in Finland in 1889 through the Tavaraleima regulation. Registration of the mark granted the owner of the mark an exclusive right to label their goods with a distinctive mark.

“For the Tavaraleima, a printing plate with the trademark image had to be made. The plate was dipped in ink, and the mark was imprinted on paper.”

Kaislisto_150_ilme_1080x1920px"The better we understand our clients’ businesses, the more effective we can be", says Kristiina Kaislisto.

“A Trademark Can Be Anything”

Kolster’s business story began by protecting patents in 1874. The number of trademark applications in Finland increased rapidly during the early decades of the 20th century, and Kolster soon became a significant expert in trademarks. The first registered trademarks by Kolster were consumer products of foreign companies.

In 1913, there were over 600 trademark applications in Finland, surpassing the annual number of patent applications for the first time. The growth in trademark work also led to specialized personnel focusing on trademarks.

During the early 1930s, approximately one-tenth of all trademark applications submitted to authorities in Finland were filed by Kolster. The corresponding figure by the late 1980s was around one-third.

In 2019, in accordance with the new trademark legislation in Finland it was possible to register entirely new types of trademarks, including holograms, scents, and trademarks containing multimedia and moving images. A trademark can be a color or the shape of packaging as well.

“Nowadays, a trademark can almost be anything that can be graphically presented in an application – under the condition that the mark is distinctive. For example, a scent can be verified through a chemical formula. Another question is whether it should be disclosed. Numerous different scent and sound marks have been registered as European Union trade marks (EUTM),” says Kaislisto.

“EU Trademark Is Popular”

Finland joined the international trademark registration system (WIPO) and the EU trademark system in 1996. Thanks to these international trademark registration systems, trademark registration and renewal could be filed simultaneously for multiple countries. Some assignments to and from foreign agents were minimized, and the significance of domestic assignments for Kolster and other IP companies grew.

Trademarks are registered by companies of all types and sizes.

“The popularity of the EU trademark has significantly increased in recent years. Instead of solely registering in Finland, companies increasingly apply for trademark registration in the EU area. Our field of work is global,” says Kaislisto.

“In many countries, national classification practices for trademarks are even more important than international classification criteria. Our international partner network ensures that our clients find reliable and knowledgeable local experts from various corners of the world.”

Kaislisto emphasizes that trademark registration is just one part of brand building and protection. It’s crucial to actively monitor and defend registered trademark rights. Additionally, trademarks must be actively used to maintain their value and protection.

Trademark attorneys must stay informed about changes in legislation and national practices, as well as of their clients’ business environments.

“The better we understand our clients’ businesses, the more effective we can be. We also need to keep an eye on trends globally and in Finland. Lately, there has been discussion in trademark circles about how to protect a trademark in the virtual world. Traditional trademark classification doesn’t provide protection if the mark is used in virtual environments, such as in games.”


Kristiina Kaislisto
Partner, European Trademark and Design Attorney
+358 50 524 2416