A design mark trademark is a recognizable sign, design, or expression that identifies a product or service as coming from a particular source. The owner of a trademark can be:

  • An individual.
  • A business organization.
  • A legal entity.

A trademark can be located:

  • On a package.
  • On a label.
  • On a voucher.
  • On the actual product.
  • On the company building.

What Is a Wordmark?

A wordmark is a distinctive text-only logo of the name of the company that is created for identifying a company and also in the company's branding. Examples of this would be the script styling for the word Coca-Cola. The text is given a graphical treatment to make it more memorable and identifiable. Often, these are effective at the visualization of the word evoking an image of the product.

Differences Between Wordmarks and Logos

While every wordmark is a logo, not every logo is a wordmark. The primary difference between the two is that a wordmark is a text-based logo. There are no pictures or graphics images aside from they created from the name. If the word contains an additional image, it is not considered a wordmark.

We have established that a wordmark is a logo, but not every logo is a wordmark. Wordmarks are easily identifiable and recognizable with three of the most well-known and remembered ones being:

  • Coca-Cola.
  • FedEx.
  • Google.

Why Use a Wordmark Over a Graphic?

While some of your most favorite companies may be easy to remember simply by seeing their graphic, if every company was represented by small graphics only it would likely cause confusion and make it difficult to remember all of the various pictures and images.

A wordmark not only creates a recognizable image but also has the name maintain a large presence. Since wordmarks can be so effective for branding, they are becoming the norm when it comes to designing.

The Difference Between a Servicemark and a Trademark

A service mark is similar to a trademark except in the fact that it is used to mark a service instead of a product. The term trademark or mark is often used interchangeably with both trademarks and service marks though they are different. You can be granted rights to use a trademark or service mark exclusively as long as it is not confusingly similar to another mark making it difficult for consumers to distinguish between the two.

How Design Trademarks Are Treated By Examining Attorneys

Since there are multiple differences that can occur between various design trademarks, there is a higher risk for a likelihood of confusion regarding the source. For example, a silhouette of a man and woman on a company that distributes health and beauty items is likely to be confused with a similar design on a specific health and beauty product. Sometimes any similarity of marks in the same product or service category may have a chance of being refused.

The likelihood of confusion is also the same with wordmarks. If a wordmark evokes the same image of a pictorial depiction that is already in use. An example of this was a case involving a shoe company that used a lions head silhouette with the letter L for their logo. In this instance, it was ruled to be too similar to a wordmark lion that was also used to represent a shoe company.

Consideration for Composite Trademarks

A composite trademark is a combination of both words and designs used to create the trademark. In the Examiners Office of the United States Patent & Trademark Office will often give greater weight to a more significant feature during its likelihood of confusion analysis. In most instances, the word element will be given the greatest weight. This is because consumers are more likely to use words for reference in regards to goods and services. Even though the USPTO will consider the words the dominant features, courts may be more flexible when considering which element should be considered the dominant one.

When filing for trademark protection with the USPTO, you will need to accompany the application with the drawing of the mark. If there is a stylized design, it should be made in the special format that it will appear in.

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