Selecting the Proper Format for a Trademark

If you have done any research into filing a trademark application, you know that there are some decisions to make. One of the most important choices is the depiction of your mark.

There are two possible mark formats that you can use to describe your trademark: (1) standard character format; or (2) stylized or design format.

Standard Character Format

The standard character format is used to register words, letters, numbers, or any combination thereof, without claim to any particular font style, size, or color, and absent any design element.  In other words, just words.

In general, you should submit a standard character drawing if:

  • All letters and words in the mark are depicted in Latin characters;
  • All numerals in the mark are depicted in Roman or Arabic numerals;
  • The mark includes only common punctuation or diacritical marks; and
  • The mark does not include a design element.

Registration of a standard character format provides broad rights for the trademark owner including the right to use the words in any manner of presentation.  For instance, you can use the mark in any font style; it can be bold or italicized letters; and can use both uppercase and lowercase letters, all uppercase letters, or all lowercase letters.  Or any other variation.  I highly recommend getting a word mark above everything, if it is possible.

Stylized Format

The stylized or design format, on the other hand, is is used to register a mark with a design element(s) and/or words and/or letters having a particular stylized appearance that you wish to protect.

In most cases, companies select the stylized format because they want the mark to include color or a design/logo.

Other Considerations

Finally, it is important to note that the two types of mark formats cannot be mixed in one mark.  Therefore, it is important to ensure that you do not submit a representation of a mark that attempts to combine a standard character format and a stylized or design format, because, once the application is filed, you cannot make a material change to your mark.

How I Can Help

As always, this post provides only a brief overview of the advantages and disadvantages of the two trademark formats. Before you undertake filing for a trademark, you should  consult with an experienced intellectual property attorney.

Please contact me for a free 30 minute consultation at or call TOLL FREE at 1-855-UR IDEAS (1-855-874-3327) and ask for Norman.

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