Standard Character Mark Trademark

A standard character mark trademark is a trademark claim over a non-stylized form of a mark. For example, when submitting a trademark application for protection over your mark, you can apply for standard or styled character protection. A standard character application will provide the broadest form of protection; therefore, most people will apply for this type of protection when registering a trademark. It will allow for the registration of words, numbers, symbols, or even letters without any particular font or style.

However, a stylized character protection will protect a certain style over the mark. Therefore, if you are registering a logo entitled “Catch Me Now” in a certain font and size, then that logo is protected only in that particular font and size. If someone begins using it with a different font, size, or overall style, then you cannot claim trademark infringement against your mark.

Registering a Trademark

Before registering your trademark, you will have to conduct a trademark search to ensure that it’s not currently in use. Once you have completed your search, you will submit an application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”). Included in the application will be the following information:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Name of trademark
  • Style of trademark
  • Date your mark was first used
  • Description of the goods and services associated with your mark

You’ll also be required to pay the applicable filing fee with your application.

Advantages and Disadvantages of the Trademark Process

There are many advantages to having trademark protection, the main advantage being the fact that you have ultimate protection over a standard trademark. Yet while you have greater protection over a standard trademark, there are some drawbacks to the application process for filing for stylized trademark protection.

For example, as previously noted, the stylized trademark will only protect your word, phrase, or logo in that particular style. Therefore, if you also want overall protection over the terminology, then you will need to submit a separate standard trademark protection request, which will result in additional fees.

With that said, it might be much easier to obtain a stylized trademark rather than a standard one. For example, you cannot take any descriptive words you want and seek trademark protection over them. But if you request stylized trademark protection, then the USPTO will more likely accept such a request, as it only protects one specific style of those words.

If you do attempt to get trademark protection over a standard mark, you might find yourself in court trying to prove that there is a distinction in the words you want protected, as certain descriptive terms are generally not accepted due to the commonality of such words. You can prove distinctiveness by showing how those words correlate to your business. In order to do this, you can use the following evidence:

  • Identify your advertising campaign for the service or good associated with the mark.
  • Specific sales of the mark.
  • Surveys evidencing how consumers see the good or service associated with the mark.
  • Surveys showing what customers think of when hearing the term or logo that you are requesting protection over, i.e., If you use one word as your mark, what does a customer think of when hearing that term? Do they think of your brand? Or do they think of the plain meaning of that term?

The USPTO will also consider evidence of a secondary meaning of the descriptive mark, which will further prove uniqueness of your mark. If you can prove that your standard character mark trademark is distinctive, then the USPTO will more likely approve the application.

With regard to fantasy wording, i.e., made up wording, this will almost always be approved for trademark protection, as the term is only used in reference to your business. While some advertising companies might want the company’s name to give some sort of indication as to what the business does, there is no argument that can be made for a company wanting to trademark its business name if the name is made up.

If you need help learning more about a standard character mark trademark, or if you want to speak to an attorney regarding assistance with your trademark application, you can post your legal need on UpCounsel’s marketplace. UpCounsel accepts only the top 5 percent of lawyers to its site. Lawyers on UpCounsel come from law schools such as Harvard Law and Yale Law and average 14 years of legal experience, including work with or on behalf of companies like Google, Menlo Ventures, and Airbnb.