Trademark FAQ: Selecting the Proper Format

If you have done any research into filing a trademark application, you know that there are some decisions to make. One of the most important choices is the depiction of your mark.

Every application must include a clear representation of the mark you want to register. This representation is used by the Trademark Office to file the mark in the USPTO search records. In addition, it is also used to print the mark in the Official Gazette and on the registration certificate.

Two possible mark formats are used: (1) standard character format; or (2) stylized or design format.

Standard Character Format

The standard character format should be used to register words, letters, numbers, or any combination thereof, without claim to any particular font style, size, or color, and absent any design element.

In general, you should submit a standard character drawing if:

  • All letters and words in the mark are depicted in Latin characters;
  • All numerals in the mark are depicted in Roman or Arabic numerals;
  • The mark includes only common punctuation or diacritical marks; and
  • The mark does not include a design element.

Registration of a mark in the standard character format will provide broad rights, namely use in any manner of presentation. For instance, you may depict the mark in any font style; may use bold or italicized letters; and may use both uppercase and lowercase letters, all uppercase letters, or all lowercase letters.

Stylized Format

The stylized or design format, on the other hand, is appropriate if you wish to register a mark with a design element and/or words and/or letters having a particular stylized appearance that you wish to protect.

In most cases, companies select the stylized format because they want the mark to include color or a design/logo.

Other Considerations

Finally, it is important to note that the two types of mark formats cannot be mixed in one mark. Therefore, it is important to ensure that you do not submit a representation of a mark that attempts to combine a standard character format and a stylized or design format.

In addition, once filed, you cannot make a material change to your mark.

How I Can Help

Of course, this post provides only a brief overview of the advantages and disadvantages of the two trademark formats. Before undertaking a trademark registration, it is often advisable to consult with an experienced intellectual property attorney.

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