How Are Word Marks Any Different For Design Marks? It’s All A Name Right

Your totally wrong my friend. They are two totally distinctive parts of trademarks. Many of our clients don’t understand this difference as well, so we have decided to dedicate an article just for this issue and explain what actually a Word Mark and Design Mark are. Word mark and Design mark are actually to distinct type of trademarks. On filing a trademark application,

you must choose between applying for the mark in standard character format (word mark) or in a stylized/design format (“design mark” or “special form”).

A word mark is just typed in standard text format with no regard to the font, style, size or color. When you apply for a word mark, you are only seeking registration of the wording regardless to its style, design, font or any graphic features. In simple words, you are only protecting the wordings, and not the logo of it. Registration of a word mark provides broader rights and basically protects the wording only. So, applications of a word marks must have a Standard Character Claim:

“The mark must comprise of standard characters without claim to any particular type of font, style, size or color.

When apply for Word mark you can vary the design aspects of your mark (e.g., style, upper/lower case, font) in use without causing a conflict with the trademark application. Trademark applications for word mark provides much more flexibility in terms of how an owner of the trademark can use the mark to support the application or also renew a registration. As long as the specific spelling in the usage, the mark remains the same as the mark applied for. Now let’s see what a Design mark is, when you want to protect a graphic design or image with or without the wordings, such as a stylized logo, then you could apply for a design mark. This is normally called as “Special Form (Stylized and/or Design)” on the USPTO initial application online form.

The design mark application would be appropriate for a distinctive logo with a particular graphics and stylized wording. Keep in mind that a registration of a design mark allows you to use the exact same design for the course of the next several years in order for you to maintain and then to renew your registration. Changing the design may require the filing of a new trademark application. The word mark registration, on the other hand, allows you to use the marked word in several different designs so long as the wording (e.g., spelling, number of words/terms, etc.) remains the same.

When you claim a design mark, you’ll need to decide whether or not to claim a specific color for it. If you haven’t decided it yet, you must file a black-and-white drawing of the mark, but your usage of the mark may be in any color. If color is claimed, you must then file a color version of the mark and the colors in your actual usage must have an exact match to those colors in the applied mark.

When you have a which mark includes both wording and stylistic elements, it’s best filing two trademark applications – 1) word mark, and 2) design mark – but it’s not necessarily compulsory to register both at the same time.

You could choose to register one version of the mark before applying for the other one. It actually does not matter whether the letters are represented in uppercase or lowercase letters. Trademark applications for word marks that were filed on paper with the USPTO will show the word mark in ‘ALLCAPS’ to indicate that the wordings are sought to be registered, regardless if they are represented in upper/ lower cases.


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