Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Trademarks: Does Punctuation Matter?

Dear Rich: I hope you are having a great day.  I am thinking about trademarking a phrase. Does the punctuation matter? Can I trademark just the wording and then add whatever punctuation I want later as my business grows/ changes (similar to changing the font and color over the years) or does the punctuation I have always have to be with the phrase for it to be considered mine? I don't know what punctuation I would like -- I prefer the flexibility as my business grows. What is the best way to protect my phrase and have flexibility? We've written about trademarks and punctuation before, so we don't need to post duplicate content and get dinged by Google. We'd add that if your mark is successful, we're not sure why you would want to change the punctuation (markings like ? and !). Your actions might confuse consumers and weaken your mark. Maybe that's why Yahoo hangs on to the exclamation point. (Here's our favorite P-mark.)

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