What is a Trademark Drawing?

March 19th, 2012

Thankfully, this is one of the easiest parts of the application. But don’t relax too much; it is critical that you complete this section correctly.

The depiction of the mark you submit now is what will appear on your registration certificate once the application process is completed. And remember: you cannot add or subtract words and designs to the mark throughout the process, except in very rare circumstances. So, the mark you submit now is what will register later. And you want it to look perfect, right?

Before we talk about some of the important issues in this section, you should know a quick definition. Sometimes you will see official documents that refer to a mark “drawing.” Don’t be alarmed; there’s no sketching involved… The word “drawing” merely refers to a “depiction of the mark.”

A mark may appear as a Standard Character mark or as a Special Form mark.  A Standard Character mark is the most flexible of all mark depictions.  It grants protection to the wording itself, without regard to the font, style, size, or color.  Although the mark looks like plain typed wording when registered, a Standard Character mark means that you can change how you display the wording over the life of the trademark.  Not bad for a simple looking mark, right?

A Special Form mark, on the other hand, is a mark that comprises special characteristics, like fonts or designs or colors.  Special Form marks can be broken down into two categories: Stylized marks and Design marks.  A Stylized mark is a mark in which the wording appears in a particular font.  A Design mark can be a composite mark, in which you protect wording that is combined with a design.  Or, it can be a mark comprised of design elements alone.

Remember, then, to submit a Special Form drawing when you want trademark protection for a particular design, stylization of wording, or combination of the two.  If you want protection for wording alone, without regard to font, style, or color, the Standard Character format might be the one for you.

When submitting a Special Form drawing, you must also comply with additional requirements.  After uploading the mark image, you will see a field for entering the “literal element.”  This field is used to indicate all of the words that appear in the attached mark image.  Do not use this field to add words, letters, or numbers that do not appear in the attached image.  The submitted image must be complete and depict your entire mark.  Then, you must submit a complete description of the mark.  It can be simple and very straightforward.

If the mark is in color, you must claim each of the colors in the mark and indicate the location of each of the colors within the mark.  Be sure to be complete and precise.  If you do not wish to claim any particular colors, simply submit a depiction of the mark in black and white and indicate that no colors are claimed.

Because of all of the additional requirements and limitations created by color Special Form marks, most applicants apply either for Standard Character marks or for Special Form marks that appear in black and white.  This allows them the greatest flexibility in use of their marks as their businesses grow and change over the years.

I know that’s a lot of terms and information, so feel free to replay this video.  And look for more videos and links to information throughout the website.

I’m Sandhya Mahajan, Trademark Information Network.

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One Response to “What is a Trademark Drawing?”

  1. What is the design Mark? A trademark can be a simple word or can be a design such as a logo. A design Mark is one which incorporates design elements such as circles, squares, lines, colors, drawings and other design elements which created commercial impression. Famous design marks include the Nike swoosh, the Microsoft Windows logo, and the Apple with the bite out of that owned by the company Apple computers. As a trademark lawyer who specializes in trademark law and trademark registration, we always encourage clients to not only look at their company or brand name but the design of their logo. Each can be subject of a separate trademark registration.

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