Intangible assets to the company, many endeavor to ensure that their product stands out to other similar products in the market by registering their brand name. Trademarks registration exists in several forms such as logo, mark, label etc. However, business enterprises often get confused whether to protect their TM as word mark or logo mark. Uncertainties also arise on the form that provides better protection: a standard character format (word mark) or designed format (logo mark). One has to have a clear understanding of these concepts before deciding on the same. A word mark consists of standard characters without any particular size, font, colour or style. It registers the word itself that the enterprise intends to use for its brand such as Sony or Apple. It provides for a much stronger protection and broader rights to the products as well as the business name. Further, words hold higher denomination when it comes to registering a trademark. One of the benefits is its simplicity and ease of understanding. It constitutes the literal element holds a better position in trademark registration. However, the difficulty lies in obtaining trademark for word mark having similar or common names.
On the other hand, logo marks include a designed or stylish format or any special layout that protects a graphic design or image. It provides rights to the images or combination of words and images that does not have any wordings. In a customer driven market, companies such as Amazon, CCD, Apple etc., have distinctive graphics (as shown in Box 1) that consumers recognise in a blink, making them attract potential buyers. Although it is much easier to obtain a logo mark protection, registering the same limits its protection to the image form only. So in case of rebranding of a company, i.e., change in graphic design word marks as mentioned in box 2 provides protection to the word and the new logo. Also, several companies might have a similar logo creating confusion in the minds of consumers. Further, trademark of logo mark may cause others to use of identical logo for similar goods or services triggering confusion or violation of IP rights. It may be suggested that if the mark contains only designs, hence can be registered under designs rather than trademarks.
The ideal way to protect the brand name of a business would be to file the trademark and register as both word mark and as logo mark. Big business entities may also choose going for multiple form of trademarks including application for both word and logo. Huge entities have the required resources to build such strong protection. However, startups or small companies have budget constraints and thus protecting the brand name is of utmost importance. It would therefore be sensible for entities to first register the trademark as a word mark, thereafter opt for logo mark. Word mark should be a preferred choice as it possesses better clarity leading to a strong market hold.
PepsiCo representing its logo PEPSI has witnessed several changes.