What can my trade mark be?

Written by Samuel O’Toole | August 1, 2022

Trade Marks

In the world of trade marks, deciding what “mark” to file requires careful consideration. Your decision may severely impact the level of your protection and could cause issues down the line.

For example, you may get stuck if you register a stylised logo, but a third party applies to register the same or similar words but with a different stylisation. The differences between the stylisations of the logos could lead to an argument about whether the marks are similar or not. On the other hand, if you only register a word mark, but a third party starts using a mark which is similar to your logo, equally you could be in trouble.

There are several different trade mark types, and these all have their own advantages and disadvantages. Generally, the main two types of trade marks are “word marks” and “logo/figurative” marks. Although it is possible to register sound marks, holograms and marks consisting exclusively of colour, so the possibilities are seemingly never-ending. The general rule is that you need to be able to provide a graphic representation of the mark you wish to protect. Otherwise, enforcing your rights without knowing what they are would be very difficult!

For several reasons, word marks are probably the best type of trade marks. Once a word mark is protected, for example “BRIFFA”, protection is granted for that sequence of letters in any colour, stylisation or form. So if a third party were to use BRIFFA in curly blue text, the claim for trademark infringement would be strong against a party using BRIFFA in rectangular purple text. This is because the trade mark protects the word BRIFFA, not any figurative or stylised elements.

I say word marks are probably the best type of trade marks because logo/figurative marks come very close, if not equal. With a logo/figurative mark, protection is granted for a graphical image instead of a specific sequence of letters or words. Accordingly, logo/figurative marks are fantastic where it is important to protect the design or stylisation of the mark. For example, if I am concerned about a third party using my wonderfully designed logo but not so concerned about the words, then a logo/figurative mark is the way to go.

Most brands have both the word and logo/figurative mark registered as this is, to put it simply, the best way to protect all the important parts of a brand. All of the lawyers at Briffa are experts in trade mark law and offer a free consultation to advise you on the best way to proceed. Feel free to get in contact to arrange a consultation to determine whether a word mark or a logo/figurative mark is best for you.

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