Trademark symbol (TM) with blue paint stroke.
We spoke about trademarks in our prior post here, which discussed what a trademark is compared to the other types of intellectual property. Here, we plan on going a little deeper into one specific area of trademark law.

 

Trademark Components

Trademarks can have several components to them: (1) the literal element (AKA, words); (2) a stylized design or logo; and (3) colors. Depending on the trademark owner/applicant, different parts of the mark may carry different weight.

Trademarks, generally, may or may not claim color as part of the actual trademark. Or, no claim of color is claimed and the result you get is no reference to color, and the published, registered mark will be in black-and-white. What’s the difference, you ask? Great question!

Claiming color in your trademark application means that the referenced colors in your mark are essential to the mark as a whole. It puts others on notice that, in your class of goods and/or services, they would do well to avoid your literal element, logo, AND the claimed colors, to avoid infringement claims.

If no color is claimed as part of the mark, your mark generally gets a broader protection, because it essentially covers all potential colorings/variations of the name and/or logo. If you choose to claim color, you’re narrowing the scope of the trademark by limiting it to certain colors.

This begs the question – how can I then claim color (because it is essential to my brand), but still give my mark broad protection? In practice, many owners file 2 separate applications. The first application includes no reference to color, and then a subsequent application is filed that does reference specific colors.

 

If you have any questions about trademarks, or including color in your mark, we’re happy to answer if you contact us at eric@lawplusplus.com or by using the contact form below.

 

 

 

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