Monday, February 27, 2012

Do We Have to Include Trademark Punctuation?

If a statement such as "Fly high. Fly now." is a trademark, does the punctuation need to be included in the trademark statement at the end of an advertisement? I was taught that it does, but if the trademarked phrase is not italicized or boldfaced, it looks odd. (In the example, it would appear as "Fly high. Fly now. is a trademark of the Whatzit Corporation.") The thing about those tiny trademark statements at the bottom of ads is that nobody reads them except the attorneys for the companies whose trademarks you're mentioning. So it really doesn't matter how it looks as long as  you duplicate the mark as the owner intended. (By the way, if it looks really strange, use single quotation marks to set it apart.) Also, if the mark is registered, indicate that it is federally registered, but don't make a similar statement about an unregistered mark. In some cases -- for example, if you're using a mark with the permission of the owner -- you may have a contractual obligation to use specific language. By the way we took a look at punctuation and trademarks about three years ago so we won't bore you by revisiting the Hall of Famous Punctuated Marks (although we were surprised to see that a few people have registered Punctuation as a mark).