How to Make Your Choice: Word Mark, Logo Mark, and Composite Mark


How to Make Your Choice: Word Mark, Logo Mark, and Composite Mark

In our previous posts, we explored the process of trademark Class search as well as trademark availability search to bring you one step closer to successfully registering your trademark. Now that we have looked into the necessary searches to conduct before filing an application, let’s return to the basics and take a look at the different types of trademarks.

It is important to understand that there are three main types of trademark (word mark, logo mark, and composite mark) and that choosing the appropriate type for registration heavily impacts the degree of brand and trademark protection as well as the time and cost involved in filing. This may explain why some businesses, especially established ones, have multiple registered trademarks that facilitate branding and further prevent the threat of trademark infringement. 

Smaller businesses, on the other hand, may find the time and cost related to trademark filing overwhelming. However, always remember that in the long run, making the appropriate choice from the beginning––whether it be the right trademark type or Class––will actually help save you any additional, unanticipated expenses and energy.

Let’s now explain the difference between a word mark, logo mark, and composite mark, and further provide you with important tips to consider when selecting your trademark type.

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What is the Difference: Word Mark, Logo Mark, and Composite Mark?

1. A word mark is the text-only name of your brand or product used in any form, regardless of style, design, font, or color. For example:


This mark provides the broadest level of protection for your brand as it only protects the words or letters, giving you a great amount of flexibility. In other words, you can represent your word mark in any way while using various styles without risking the protection of your trademark. 

However, one thing to keep in mind is that strong trademarks are those that are distinctive. Generic names like “The Best Cakes” will not establish a strong enough brand identity and will further be subject to a denial of registration.

Tip: If you wish to file in China, try not to include a specific location name (e.g., California Pizza Kitchen)

2. A logo mark is a graphic design or image which can include words––that is, it is a stylized logo that represents your brand. For example:

adidas logo

This mark provides protection for your brand’s identifying design and visual elements including all color variations. Note that your brand name does not necessarily need to be incorporated into the mark.

Tip: It is better to keep your logo mark black and white unless your brand’s signature color defines your brand’s identity. This is because submitting a black and white form for registration allows you to use the logo in any color variation, providing the broadest level of protection.

3. A composite mark is a combination of a word mark and a logo mark. For example:

adidas composite logo

This mark provides protection for the visual elements and the stylized name of your brand together. In other words, this protects only the particular style you submitted for registration and does not protect the word and logo separately.

Tip: It is recommended to register your word and logo mark individually for complete protection and prevention of complications. Even seemingly small changes to a design, such as a brand name moving to the side of a graphic instead of resting on top of it, could warrant filing a new trademark application.

Additional Important Tips to Consider When Selecting Your Trademark Type

  • You must always avoid descriptive, generic marks (e.g., “The Best Cakes”) as well as unoriginal marks that are confusingly similar to pre-existing marks.
  • When in doubt, start with a word mark as it offers the broadest level of brand and trademark protection.
  • Ideally, you should file for both a word mark and a logo mark to ensure brand protection and prevent trademark infringement.
  • If you found out that your word mark or logo mark has already been taken by someone else through a trademark search, you could try resorting to a composite mark to give your trademark a touch of uniqueness.
  • In general, word elements are given the greatest weight when conducting a likelihood of confusion analysis.

To learn more about how MarqVision can help you navigate every aspect of registering your trademarks around the world, including choosing the right type of trademark for your brand and managing your trademark portfolio visit our MARQ Folio product page. 

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