When most people think of trademarks, they think of words like Coke® or logos like the Nike® swoosh but trademarks can be anything that tells you where a product or service came from, like the shape of a bottle or building, or a sound or smell.
We can track the rise of sound and smell trademarks because they are filed under “Mark Drawing Code 6” for “situations for which no drawing is possible.” The first application under Mark Drawing Code 6 was filed in 1947. Here’s how the trademark is described:
The mark comprises the musical notes G, E, C, played on chimes.
Can you figure out what this very familiar trademark is just from the description? If not, try singing or whistling it or you can just check out the answer below.
There were only two applications for sound and smell trademarks filed in the 1940s.
There was a total of twenty filed from 1950 through 1989, then things really took off.
So far in the 2010s, there have been 308 applications filed for “situations for which no drawing is possible.”
You are immersed in these sounds all day. Can you identify these familiar sound marks? (Answers are below.)
How many could you guess? How many others can you think of?
The musical notes played on chimes is the NBC trademark.
The other sound marks are:
- An Apple® computer booting up.
- The THX® sound system for theaters.
- The Pillsbury® Doughboy® giggling.
- The Tarzan yell.