Fairy Trademark Protection

CHOOSING THE RIGHT TRADEMARK FOR YOUR STARTUP

ONLY WORDS, BLACK AND WHITE OR COLOURED?

Choosing the right type of trademark to register is crucial for startups looking to protect their brand effectively. This guide will help you understand the benefits and considerations of registering a trademark for a name, a black and white logo, or a colour logo.

DIFFERENT TYPES OF TRADEMARKS

A trademark can be a name, logo, or a combination of both. Choosing the right type to register depends on how you plan to use it in your branding and marketing efforts and, more importantly, how much budget you have.

As a startup, your resources are precious. Every decision, from marketing campaigns to software subscriptions, needs to deliver the biggest bang for your buck. This same principle applies to safeguarding your brand identity –– trademark registration.

But with different types of trademarks available, a critical question emerges: Which one offers the most effective protection for your startup, considering your likely limited budget?

The trademark that offers the best protection for your company is a “word mark” not a  “logo” or “figurative” one. 

WORDS WIN

For startups aiming to shield their brand while keeping their budget in check, the smartest strategy is to register word-only trademarks. Here’s why this approach offers the biggest protection:

  • Shape Agnostic: While a word mark doesn’t directly protect the design or shape of a logo, it indirectly provides a layer of protection if the logo’s shape includes the trademarked words. For example, if your brand name is “Swoosh” and you use that word in a logo, together with a swoosh-like shape (oh, where did I see that? 🤔), a word mark registration for “Swoosh” would offer some protection against someone else using a similar swoosh design incorporating the word “Swoosh.”
  • Colour independence: A word mark protects your brand name regardless of the colour it’s displayed in. This allows for flexibility in marketing materials and branding elements.
  • Versatility across platforms: Your word mark can be used effectively in various formats, including digital platforms, social media, and print materials.
  • Potential for future expansion: A registered word mark can be the foundation for future trademark applications. You can later consider registering a logo mark that incorporates your protected word mark, potentially leveraging existing registration strength.

In a nutshell, this offers a broad protection across formats: a word-only trademark, also known as a standard character mark, provides protection for the brand name in any typographic style, colour, or design. This means that no matter how the name is presented, it is protected under the trademark. Whether you use the name in a logo, in plain text, or in any creative form, the trademark covers all these variations within the classes you’ve applied for.

BLACK AND WHITE BEATS COLOUR

While word marks offer a strong foundation, many startups eventually develop a unique logo to visually represent their brand. But here’s a crucial budget consideration when registering a logo trademark: registering a logo in colour only protects it in that specific colour scheme. If you want to use your logo in a different colour combination, you would need to file a separate trademark application for each colour variation. 

This can quickly become expensive.

Enter the Black and White Advantage: opting for a black and white version provides more extensive protection and flexibility than a colour version. 

  • Shape Over Colour: A black and white trademark protects the design and shape of your logo, regardless of the colour used. This means you can display your logo in any colour combination without jeopardising your trademark protection.
  • Flexibility and Cost Savings: This flexibility eliminates the need to file separate applications for different colour variations. It’s a budget-friendly way to secure broad protection for your logo’s core design.

For example, imagine your startup has a logo with a swoosh. Registering it in black and white protects the swoosh shape itself, allowing you to use it in red, blue, or any other colour combination for marketing materials.

PROTECT FIRST, EXPAND LATER

In the ideal world, you’d have a trademark for every variation of your brand – the name in every font, the logo in every colour imaginable. But startups have to be smart with their resources.

Start by prioritising budget-friendly options that offer the widest possible protection at the beginning.  A word mark secures your core brand name, and a black and white logo trademark safeguards the essence of your visual identity, regardless of colour. As your startup grows and resources become more available, you can incrementally secure additional protections. This might include registering specific colour logos and other brand elements to reinforce and expand your brand’s legal shield.

Remember, brand protection is a journey that grows alongside your startup. As your business flourishes, you can revisit your trademark portfolio. Consider registering color variations of your logo or even the specific fonts you use in your branding materials.

By starting strategically and prioritising your budget, you can establish a strong foundation for brand protection. This foundation allows you to build upon it as your brand awareness and resources grow, ensuring your unique identity is well-shielded for the long haul.

Fairy Trademark Protection

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