Did you know that sounds may be registered as trademarks under U.S. law? Per Section 1202.15 of the Trademark Manual of Examining Procedure, “[a] sound mark identifies and distinguishes a product or service through audio rather than visual means. Sound marks function as source indicators when they ‘assume a definitive shape or arrangement’ and ‘create in the hearer’s mind an association of the sound’ with a good or service.” In other words, a distinctive sound is registrable if it is recognized by the public as an indication of source for particular products or services.
Even the relatively mundane sound of “rhythmic mechanical human breathing created by breathing through a scuba tank regulator” can be trademarked under the right circumstances. For example, the sound mark of U.S. Registration No. 3618322, featured below, is instantly recognizable to a broad swath of the public, clearly associated with a certain dark and malevolent source of goods and services, and widely feared (for trademark infringement purposes) throughout the Empire: