During a never-ending road trip, you finally come across a sign that is red and yellow and you're starving!
What comes to your mind? Most likely McDonalds!
Certain colours have gained recognition after a long period of use, such as the red and yellow colours used in the McDonalds logo, Tiffany's blue, or Starbucks Coffee's green and white.
These colour(s) have become symbiotic with a brand's goods and services in the public's eye. They allow brands an opportunity to further strengthen their intellectual property rights in the marketplace.
However, many applicants may not know the implications of claiming colours in a trademark logo application. In this post, we will look at the difference in trademarking a logo in black & white versus a logo with specific colours.
What does this mean for my trademark logo?
When you file a trademark logo with a specific colour(s), you are limiting trademark protection to only those colours. This will narrow the protection for a mark. However, if you file your logo in black and white, you will have the exclusive right to use the mark regardless of colours used.
If you register a colour trademark and decide to change the colour scheme in the future, your current trademark will not offer you the same protection! This is because the Canadian Intellectual Property Office does not allow you to make any changes to your trademark logo.
You will have to file a new trademark application to protect the those colours.
How Should I File my Trademark Logo?
When you file your trademark application, it is ideal to file a word mark in standard characters in black & white. This will allow you to use the trademark logo in any font and style.
After filing the word mark in standard characters, you should file a trademark logo in black and white. Once the word mark and trademark logo in black and white are protected, you could file a logo in color, if necessary.
For example, Burger King filed their logo in black and white and then filed another trademark for the same logo, but in colour.
Coloured Burger King logo trademark was filed in 2010 and registered in 2011
Colour is claimed as a feature of the trade-mark ... The words BURGER KING are red, set between two yellow 'bun' shapes with white highlights. The crescent shape is blue.
In summary, a trademark logo may be filed in black and white or in color. Filing a trademark logo in black and white means that you may use your logo in any colour, whereas when you file a trademark logo in colour, you must use your logo in those colours in order to receive maximum protection for that trademark.
The preceding content is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal or professional advice. To obtain such advice, please contact our offices directly.