Thanks for an interesting question.
"Official signs" is a term used in the so-called Paris Convention that
harmonized many international trademark laws, policies and practices,
and has since been incorporated into TRIPS -- Trade-Related
Intellectual Property Rights -- agreements.
The term refers in a pretty straightforward way to government signs
and symbols -- flags, emblems, official seals, national heraldry, and
The actual text of the Paris Convention pertaining to "official signs"
can be found here:
and the first two articles are below (although there is more relevant
text that you might want to read in full):
(a) The countries of the Union agree to refuse or to invalidate the
registration, and to prohibit by appropriate measures the use, without
authorization by the competent authorities, either as trademarks or as
elements of trademarks, of armorial bearings, flags, and other State
emblems, of the countries of the Union, official signs and hallmarks
indicating control and warranty adopted by them, and any imitation
from a heraldic point of view.
(b) The provisions of subparagraph (a), above, shall apply equally to
armorial bearings, flags, other emblems, abbreviations, and names, of
international intergovernmental organizations of which one or more
countries of the Union are members, with the exception of armorial
bearings, flags, other emblems, abbreviations, and names, that are
already the subject of international agreements in force, intended to
ensure their protection.
(c) No country of the Union shall be required to apply the provisions
of subparagraph (b), above, to the prejudice of the owners of rights
acquired in good faith before the entry into force, in that country,
of this Convention. The countries of the Union shall not be required
to apply the said provisions when the use or registration referred to
in subparagraph (a), above, is not of such a nature as to suggest to
the public that a connection exists between the organization concerned
and the armorial bearings, flags, emblems, abbreviations, and names,
or if such use or registration is probably not of such a nature as to
mislead the public as to the existence of a connection between the
user and the organization.
(2) Prohibition of the use of official signs and hallmarks indicating
control and warranty shall apply solely in cases where the marks in
which they are incorporated are intended to be used on goods of the
same or a similar kind.
I hope this is the information you need.
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