Originally posted 2010-07-19 18:48:25. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Speaking of Google and trademarks, an interesting article on Google’s own trademarks is this:  Don’t “Hitchhike”A Ride On Google’s Trademarks and URLs by Russell Shaw.

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.

By Ron Coleman

I write this blog.

6 thoughts on “What is a word mark?”
  1. 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.

  2. 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. 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. Question, if a family name is registered as a Wordmark, are others having the same family name prohibited from using their name in business: leterhead, cards, brochures, etc? Or, are they just prohibited in presenting the name in the same style as the registered wordmark?

  5. It’s the same standard as other trademarks. Contrary to myth, there is no rule of law giving you the right to do business under your own family name regardless of the trademark rights of others.

    Too bad.

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