Can I Use This Logo?

I’ve written a ton of blogs on how to figure out whether a word is available for use as a trademark, but how do you know if a logo is safe to use?

Each registered trademark that includes a logo has a description of the logo as part of the registration. For example, here’s the description of Happy Bee that Beeline uses:

Bee only.pngThe mark consists of a stylized side view of a bee comprised of: a semi-circle outlined in grey, filled with a gradient of color ranging from orange to yellow with three vertical grey lines depicting stripes and a grey circle depicting the eye; emerging from the semi-circle are two curved grey lines depicting the antennae and a small grey triangle depicting the stinger; and above the semicircle are two overlaid blue stylized wings.

Yup. I actually get paid to write stuff like that.

Every registered trademark with a logo also has design codes assigned to it by the Trademark Office. Here are the design codes for Happy Bee:

03.23.06 – Bees; Hornets; Wasp; Yellowjackets
26.01.06 – Circles, semi; Semi-circles
26.17.01 – Bands, straight; Bars, straight; Lines, straight; Straight lines, bands or bars
26.17.04 – Bands, vertical; Bars, vertical; Lines, vertical; Vertical lines, bands or bars

The process for searching for “confusingly similar” logos is something like this:

  • Search for key words in logo descriptions.
  • Search for relevant codes in design codes.
  • Look at the actual pictures that the search brings up.
  • Apply judgment using the DuPont factors. Two logos might use similar words to describe them and yet be totally distinctive.

Twitter bird.pngBird in flight.png

Each of these trademarks uses the phrase “bird in flight” in the description, but they are not similar in appearance.

 

Can you guess these incredibly famous trademarks from their descriptions? Scroll down for answers.

  • The mark consists of a circular seal with the design of a siren (a two-tailed mermaid) wearing a crown.
  • The mark consists of a red circle and a yellow circle that interlock to create the color orange.
  • The mark consists of lower case letter “B” in a circle.

Next you’ll want to know how to check the availability of a sound mark. Yikes!

 

Big shout out to Ava, for suggesting this topic! What do you want to know about?

 

 

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The three trademarks described are:

  • The Starbucks® siren.
  • The Mastercard® logo.
  • Beats® headphones logo.

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