When a company has decided on a business model and branding concept, it is time to protect the intellectual property and file a trademark application. The application can be for the company’s logo, name, and/or slogan. Filing for a registered trademark can be a complex and detailed process. This blog provides insights on one of the first decisions that will need to made. Should you file a “stylized” mark, a “plain text” mark, or a combination thereof?
Option 1: The Stylized Text/Mark
A “stylized text,” also known as a “special form,” contains words, numbers or a design element in a format containing a specific font, size and/or color(s). For example, if the mark has a unique color that you always plan to use then you would make a statement of that color when filing the mark. However, if just a specific mark is desired but the company wants the option of using the mark in different colors no claim to the color would be made and just the black and white mark would be applied for. For example, our firm would file this logo and stylized text specifying the orange, gray and white:
Option 2: The Plain Text/Mark
A plain text, also known as “standard character” or “typed drawing,” contain only words, letters and/or numbers in everyday writing such as the text in this blog. It does not contain any images or graphics, such as a logo. Standard characters are always in black and white, whereas stylized text may have a color or design element to it. Filing a plain text means that no claim is being made as to a specific font, size or color and a plain text mark does not possess any stylization of design characteristics. For example, our firm’s plain text is “Hunter Business Law.”
Option 3: The Design Plus Mark
Finally, there is a third option called a “design plus mark.” This means that the trademark registration covers more than just words and numbers. You might file this type of application when you wish to protect certain colors, designs, logos, graphics or other distinctive elements pertaining to your logo. This is very similar to a stylized mark however; a stylized mark does not always contain images (i.e. can be words only) and a design plus mark always has some type of image, photo or graphic.
What Should Your Company Do?
It is always recommended to file an application for each type of mark if possible i.e. plain text, stylized and design. However, that is not always an option. If your company does not have a logo or a specialized way of displaying its company name, or is unable to file more than one application due to finances, then the plain text trademark application should be chosen. The plain text trademark application tends to be the most recommended application as it offers the mark a greater general protection. Because a specific style of the company name is not being trademarked, the mark may be modified depending on the products or goods it is being placed upon, and updated if you later desire to change the color or design. In other words, the company would not be limited to a specific color, size or font. For example, with a plain text trademark, our firm could change our logo from to , for our future Ireland office!
Just because a trademark has been filed does not mean a company has complete protections. The United States Patent and Trademark Office will not protect a mark, logo or design if it is not considered unique to its particular product or service, and continuously used in commerce. For example, a company would not be able to trademark a common letter, shape, or number by itself as a plain text. An exception would be if the letter, number, or shape was drawn in a unique way that would not be associated with any other company, service or product other than the one to trademark it.
For more information on registering a trademark, please contact Katelyn J. Dougherty at Hunter Business Law via email: Katelyn@hunterbusinesslaw.com.
This blog was written by Hunter Business Law’s, Certified Paralegal, Katelyn J. Dougherty.
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