To the graphic artists and branding experts out there, please stop designing trademarks that combine a logo design into your word mark. For this post, I designed the fictitious trademark below in Adobe Illustrator.
The word mark is just fine. TECH MOON, MOON TECH and/or MOON TECHNOLOGY (all registered trademarks) are inherently distinctive brands. My issue is the logo design you see above. This design encumbers the TECH MOON words with a logo using the lettering necessary to convey the word mark. It is virtually impossible for a potential infringer to violate the logo mark without also infringing on the word mark.
Therefore, the scope of the design is extraordinarily narrow. It is a poor trademark from both legal and branding perspectives. It provides the graphic artist few options to produce creative iterations of the logo and remain faithful to the core brand identity.
Separate Logo and Words
Consider top brands like MERCEDES BENZ, PEPSI and TESLA. They all have identifiable logos that exist completely apart from the words of the brands (e.g., the 3-pointed star, the red/blue circle and the stylized “T” respectively). Some logos stand the test of time (e.g., Mercedes) while some evolve constantly (e.g., Pepsi).
In the example, below, we moved the logo to the left and present the TECHMOON brand separately. Marketing rightly wants to convey the product or service so we add “advanced networking” underneath, but in a separate line and smaller font. This lets us trademark just the logo, just TECHMOON or a combination of all the elements together.
Less is More with Trademarks
There is nothing more expensive than a bad lawyer and there is a wide divide between the top-level intellectual property attorneys and those that secure trademarks and patents of dubious value. At our firm we call them “expensive wallpaper.” In the case of trademarks you can spot bad lawyers wherein the only trademark filed includes the entire “kitchen sink.” This includes:
- The word mark (TECHMOON);
- The descriptive text underneath (ADVANCED NETWORKING);
- The logo in conjunction with all the words; and
- Unnecessary color and shading of a particular marketing embodiment.
Accordingly, avoiding trademarks that combine logos and words is just one of many long-term strategies. In other words, bifurcate your aesthetic logo elements from the alphanumeric characters of your word mark and keep all your options open for the future. Your brand is precious. Protect it well.