Mark o' the Irish
Thinking about honoring your Celtic heritage -- or perhaps just borrowing a bit of the luck o' the Irish -- by incorporating a shamrock into your trademarks or designs? Think again, at least if you plan to market your goods in Ireland.
According to the Irish Patents Office:
Any person who wishes to obtain registration of a trade mark containing a State emblem (harp, shamrock) or to use a State emblem in connection with any business must first obtain consent from the Minister.
Just a simple bit of green tape? Not exactly. The guidelines go on to state, "Authorisation to use the shamrock is restricted to goods or services of Irish origin."
A thought for the fashion buffs out there: Would British designer Charles James and his famous 1953 "four-leaf clover gown" have been affected by this rule, had it been in force? Presumably the law wouldn't have reached that far, since only the outline of the hem formed a shamrock -- and, besides, his own rather nondescript name for the gown was "Abstract."
Happy Saint Patrick's Day!