Does a combined mark offer the strongest protection?

Photo of Igor Demcak

Written by Igor Demcak

CEO & Legal Mind

The IP offices around the world recognize only wordmarks or figurative marks (logos). A combined mark, even though it contains both a visual element (logo) and text (the name of the brand), is registered as figurative mark.

The combined mark offers the best strategy if you have limited budget or if it is not possible to register just the wordmark itself. The typical example of combined logo is logo of Adidas with three stripes.

A combined mark protects the combination of its elements, but the individual elements in isolation have only what is called implicit protection. This means that there might be edge cases in which someone could use one of the elements of the trademark in a completely different graphical design without it being considered trademark infringement. This is heavily case dependent, but in general, it can happen if the copied element doesn't possess enough distinctiveness on its own.

For example, imagine a combined mark with intricate graphical design and also featuring the brand name "Yoga house". Such combined mark might get registered, but the name "Yoga house" on its own is too descriptive in connection to its services, and therefore, should someone else use it, the combined mark wouldn't offer any protection to its owner.

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