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Device and Word Marks in Trademark Registration

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Last Updated on June 17, 2024 by Swetha LLM

A trademark is the name or logo used to identify a firm. A company uses a trademark to sell products or provide services. This trademark allows the company’s products to be easily identified from those of its rivals.

A design, number, name, combination of letters, or color can all be used as trademarks. It is a distinguishing mark used to identify the product or service provider. Owners or proprietors of trademarks may register catchphrases, corporate names, taglines, logos, and captions that are unique as trademarks in India.

Meaning of Trademark

One type of intellectual property that is comprised of a trademark is a unique pattern, symbol, or phrase that identifies the products or services of one source above those of another. Even though service marks are more widely used to refer to trademarks intended to denote services. A trademark may be owned by an individual, company, or other legal body.

Classification of Indian Trademarks

Trademarks in India fall under a number of categories, such as words, logos, colours, and more. A distinct registration is needed for each class of trademark. When registering a trademark, the owner of the trademark may select only one trademark category. The trademark falls into several categories, including:

  • Word Mark: A word mark consists of a single word or a string of letters, numbers, or other characters. A meaning is not necessary for the word. A combination of random characters and numbers may even be used.
  • Device Mark: Any sticker, label, logo, monogram, or geometric figure that isn’t a word mark is considered a device mark. It is filled with patterns and illustrations.
  • Colour: It’s a single colour or a group of colours that stand out from the others, either with or without a device mark.
  • Three-dimensional trademarks: These include the Xbox 360 logo, whiskey bottles, and other product packaging or shapes.
  • Sound: A trademark can be used to a song that sets apart the goods or services that a company provides.

Which Kinds of Trademarks Exist?

Two major categories can be used to classify trademarks:

  • Device Marks
  • Word Marks

Device Marks in Trademarks

A device mark can be any graphic picture or design, with or without text. It is possible to illustrate the device mark in addition to colours. However, in order to seek trademark security, the same colors must be applied regularly if the owner of a trademark registers their logo or design that includes colors.

In order to accomplish trademark registration for a certain stylized appearance or a mix of stylized language, color, shape, and design, trademark proprietors must select device mark registration in their trademark application. When a device mark is registered, it stops other people from using the words included in the logo instead of an identical logo or design for their goods or services.

A few illustrations of trademarks on devices are the Android symbol, the Apple logo, PUMA, McDonald’s, and so on.

Advantages

When a device mark, like a logo or design, is used to represent a brand, it is visually appealing, and customers are more likely to remember it than when word marks are used. Additionally, using a device mark makes it easier for customers to approach you without putting too much strain on your marketing budget.

For example, it is easy to link McDonald’s with a stylized letter “M” made up of two Golden Arches marks. An Apple half-bite could be easily associated with Apple laptops and iPhones.

Drawbacks

There are serious disadvantages to device marks. First of all, they are rigid since they have to be utilized exactly as specified, meaning that even small modifications will not qualify for protection under the original registration. Due to their design aspects, device markings are complex in trademark searches, unlike word marks, which are easy to search. In order to ensure that all elements are suitably represented, businesses must carefully plan and document their logos and designs before registration.

For example, if Microsoft were to change its logo, it would need to submit a new application for a device mark, but it could modify its logo without compromising its trademark because it registered “Microsoft” as a word mark.

Word Marks in Trademark

A wordmark is a trademark made from entirely of the words or letters registered. During a word mark registration, no thought is given to the way the words or letters are written or rendered, the font size that is used, the design that is tied to the words, or any other graphic element of the words or letters. The brand name is the sole thing that is protected by trademark law. It is the category in which trademark registration is most prevalent.

A trademark holder has the freedom to use and, once they have, show a phrase in any font or format. They have registered the word, word combination, letter, or digit. It gives the owner the only authority to use the word in its entirety, irrespective of style, for the products and services for which registration is asserted.

A few illustrations of trademarks on words are FedEx, IBM, TATA, LinkedIn, Canon, Nikon, eBay, Coca-Cola, and Facebook.

Advantages

Its adaptability is one of the word mark’s biggest features. The font and style of the words that are reflected in the word mark are completely customizable by the owner. The word itself is safeguarded in spite of how it is portrayed. The word has to be spelt exactly as it appears in the business for the trademark registration application to be approved.

Drawbacks

If the brand name has a logo, it must be registered together with the term. This requires two separate applications and two fees. This might be very expensive for several business ventures.

Additionally, users could find it unappealing to register a word mark alone. In the absence of any kind of visual signal, like a logo, it could be challenging for the average person to remember a name by itself. Customers may be taken aback if the words’ image is changed, and all of the marketing efforts may have been for nothing.

Difference between Word Marks and Device Marks

Particulars Word Marks Device Marks
 

Definition

 

A term, phrase, or set of terms used to designate and set apart a good or service.

 

 

A style, mark, emblem, or other visual cue that serves to identify and set apart a good or service.

 

 

Nature

Consists only of text; there are no graphics or other visual components.

 

 

 

Consists of visual or graphical components, some or all of which may contain text.

 

 

 

Protection

 

Provides extensive protection for the particular words or word combinations used, independent of the style, typeface, or presentation.

 

 

Provides security for the particular color, shape, picture, or audio track that is used in the visual representation or design.

 

 

 

Flexibility

 

Allows for adaptability to many fonts, styles, and visual presentations without compromising the essential identity.

 

 

Demands uniformity in the precise visual representation and design because substantial alterations could cause protection to be lost.

 

 

Example

 

The brand name “Coco-Cola” is used without any particular image.

 

 

The apple form with a bite out of it serves as Apple’s logo.

 

Conclusion

The first step in protecting the intellectual property of your company is to register a trademark. Whether to employ device or word marks is a complex question that requires a careful analysis of several factors. Device marks provide unique visuals that can be used to distinguish your business from competitors and improve brand recognition. Conversely, word marks provide more security and are easier to register.

In the end, the decision between word marks and devices will rely on the goals and requirements of your specific business. Together with thorough study, you can work with a trademark attorney to choose a mark that best represents your company identity and protects your firm going forward.

FAQs

  1. What distinguishes a wordmark from a device mark?

A device mark is a visual symbol used to identify a business, service, or thing. It could include words, images, shapes, and symbols. The only elements of a word mark, on the other hand, are words, characters, or numerals, occasionally in combination. They do not include any stylized or graphical features.

  1. Is it possible for the same brand to be registered under one-word mark and one device mark?

Both word and device marks may be registered for the same brand in India. Certain companies register both types of marks in an attempt to increase protection and brand exposure.

  1. For how long does a trademark registration take in India?

Once an application is submitted, a trademark registration in India is valid for ten years. By paying the appropriate renewal costs, it is possible to extend its term for a further ten years.

  1. Is it possible to register a mark that is similar to one that is already registered?

No, a mark that is similar to, or inappropriately similar to, one that is already registered in the same or related classes of goods or services cannot be registered. The owner of the current mark may oppose this or refuse to allow registration.

  1. Does registering a trademark require legal support?

Although not necessary, hiring a trademark lawyer is suggested for registration. Specialists in trademarks such as Kanakkupillai has distinct knowledge and proficiency in this field, allowing them to assist with registration and prevent legal issues.

Swetha LLM

Swetha, LLM, a lawyer with skills in writing legal content, is passionate about simplifying complex legal concepts and engaging readers with her insights of nuanced legal ideas. She is able to preserve the accuracy of legal material while adjusting the tone and style to fit the audience.