What is a word mark?

Originally posted 2005-01-04 17:46:00. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Speaking of Google and trademarks, an interesting article on Google’s own trademarks is “Don’t “Hitchhike”A Ride On Google’s Trademarks and URLs” by Russell Shaw [the link to the article is now dead, sorry!].

Only thing is that he defines a “word mark” as “similar to a trademark, but more of a logo than a business name,” which it isn’t.

I don’t blame him for being confused. The term is not found in the index of McCarthy’s definitive treatment, nor in the INTA glossary on line. But one thing is for sure: A word mark is a trademark, it’s not “like a trademark.” And describing it as being like a logo is misleading — many logos don’t have any words in ‘em at all. In fact, a word mark is nothing more or less than a trademark consisting of a word or words. (See, e.g., American Home Products Corp. v. Johnson Chemical Co., Inc.,589 F.2d 103, 200 U.S.P.Q. 417 (2nd Cir. 1978). If you must. )

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Author:Ron Coleman

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4 Responses to “What is a word mark?”

  1. Fool
    January 7, 2005 at 1:01 pm #

    Why not just go straight to the statute?:

    “The term ‘trademark’ includes any word, name, symbol, or device, or any combination thereof—….” §45 (15 U.S.C. §1127).

  2. Ronald Coleman
    January 7, 2005 at 1:04 pm #

    Well, we know there are words that are trademarks — yes, Fool, we know it at least because it’s in the statute; we could go back even further, of course. But the term “word mark” as such isn’t found in the statute, and terms of art being what they are, sometimes just figuring something out doesn’t work!

  3. Fool
    January 10, 2005 at 11:24 am #

    Fair enough.

    I guess, in my mind, I never thought of the phrase “word mark” as a term of art…I’ve always considered it just an easy way to descriptively distinguish a mark that is comprised of only a word with one that incorporates some stylization or design element.

    Prior to your post, I never though much about it…

  4. Ronald Coleman
    January 10, 2005 at 11:26 am #

    Ah, but that’s what we’re here for! :-)

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