The Modern Trademark

Interest continued to rise in brand names and new products. Trademark trends kept pace with changing times. The Lanham Act shaped the future for the trademarks used today.

New trademark act is passed making additions to the Trademark Act of 1905.

Patent Office becomes part of the Department of Commerce.

Lightning bolts were used to show the power of American industry.

Trademark imagery reflected the patriotism felt by the nation during the period around World War II.

Lanham Act enacted on July 5. This is the trademark law in effect today. Its purpose is to eliminate unfair competition in marketing goods and services and to provide the owners of marks protection against confusion of similar marks. It covers such areas as when owners of marks are entitled to federal protection for infringement, types of protections available, and procedures for registering marks. It allows for the registration of service marks.

Felt tip pens were invented, changing the look of trademarks.
After World War II, technological prowess was used to demonstrate product superiority. Rocket ships and electronic coils were common motifs.

Symbols of Power: Seeking a Modern Image

The 1930s
During the 1930s, America became increasingly electrified. Bolts of electricity used in trademarks demonstrated both modernity and power.
the words nu-day magnetic
For can openers.
circle with lightening bolts
For refrigeration.
the letters RCA
For electronic receiving
and distributing systems.
radio tower and the words an RKO radio picture
For films.

The 1940s
With America's involvement in World War II, warlike and patriotic imagery became common in trademarks.
lamp with the words atomic glow
For metal and glass polish.
falling bomb with the words atomic insecticides
For insecticide.
eagle with the words union quality
For tool chests.
airplane with the words fortress
For lawn sprinklers.
circle with the word victory
For chemical cleaners.
The 1950s
In the 1950s, new technologies developed during World War II took on greater importance in daily life. Electronic coils and rockets were symbols frequently used to demonstrate product superiority.

glove with electric coil and the word cosmos
For sealing machines.
electric coil with the word servo
For measuring and plotting devices.
a rocket with the word interceptor
For lightning rods.

For hamburger sandwiches.

To read more about trends in trademarks, see John Mendenhall's High Tech Trademarks and High Tech Trademarks 2.

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