Almost anything can be a trademark if it indicates the source of your goods and services. It could be a word, slogan, design, or combination of these. It could even be a sound, a scent, or a color.
Standard character trademarks
Most trademarks are registered as standard character-only trademarks. These trademarks consist of words, letters, numbers, or a combination of those without a specific font, size, color, or design. Basically, you’re protecting the words regardless of how they’re displayed.
Some standard character examples include:
- Under Armour®
- It’s finger lickin’ good!®
- Just do it®
- America runs on Dunkin’®
Special form trademarks
Special form trademarks include trademarks that are stylized, have designs, or are in color. With trademarks that use a special form format, the stylization and design is an important part of the trademark, and so you’re protecting the way the trademark looks.
The golden arches of McDonald’s® is an example of a design that is a registered trademark.
The Nike® logo with the swoosh is a combination of a word and a design that is a registered trademark.
The format of the trademark you apply to register affects your application filing requirements. Learn more about the two different formats of trademarks and their filing requirements.
Trademarks with their specific goods or services
Head & Shoulders® in standard characters with no design or stylization is a registered trademark for “hair shampoo” owned by the Procter & Gamble Company.
The Head & Shoulders logo, shown here, is a separately registered trademark for “medicated hair care preparations” owned by the Procter & Gamble Company.
Google® in standard characters with no design or stylization is a registered trademark owned by Google, LLC for many goods and services. Some of these are “software for accessing and searching online databases and websites,” “technical consulting services in the field of archiving of data for others in the nature of historical records and documents,” and “computer services, namely, creating cloud-based indexes of information.”
Google also has multiple registered designs in stylized font for the word Google for goods and services, like “computer hardware” and “bill payment services.” The letters in Google, shown here, are specific colors and are in a specific order and font style. These make up the features of the trademark.
Facebook® in standard characters with no design or stylization is in multiple registered trademarks owned by Facebook, Inc. These registrations are for numerous goods and services, such as “social introduction, networking and dating services” and “application programming interface (API) for computer software which facilitates online services for social networking, building social networking applications and for allowing data retrieval, upload, download, access and management.”
Facebook, Inc. also owns multiple registered design marks with the term “Facebook” for goods and services, such as “computer search engine software” and “application service provider (ASP) services, namely, hosting computer software applications of others.”
DISCLAIMER: References to particular trademarks, service marks, certification marks, products, services, companies, or organizations appearing on this page are for illustrative and educational purposes only and do not constitute or imply endorsement by the U.S. government, the U.S. Department of Commerce, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, or any other federal agency.