The Post-Modern Trademark

During this period, the variety of display formats for trademarks is changing. Trademarks are no longer limited to words and flat visuals, but can be 3-D, a sound or group of sounds, a color, or a scent. The World Wide Web creates new trademark issues. Advertising options change. New issues concerning Domain Names and likelihood of confusion in the use of the word “net” arise.

McDonald's three dimensional trademarks registered for buildings and arches.

National Broadcasting Company is granted a trademark for the sequence of notes played to identify the broadcasting service.

Standard Oil changes name to EXXON®.

Coca-Cola®'s bottle is registered as a three dimensional mark.

Owens Corning® is granted a trademark for the color pink as used in their insulation on May 12, 1987.

Clarke's Osewez® is granted a trademark on a fragrance for use on their sewing thread and embroidery yarn.

United States Patent and Trademark Office considers the registration of Internet Domain Names.

Full text and images of trademarks and service marks are available for searching on the Web from the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

Electronic filing of trademarks over the Internet is made available through TEAS: Trademark Electronic Application System

More than 1,600,000 trademarks are currently registered in the U.S. This number has doubled in the past 5 years due primarily to the growth of the internet.

The New Brands

Americans became very brand conscious during and after the industrial revolution. This began with advertising in newspapers, followed by other media later. The powerful protection provided under the Trademark Act of 1905 encouraged the use of brand names among manufacturers.


woman washing dishes with brillo soap the word brillo with soap bubbles
Cleaning, scouring, and polishing wads
Registered by the Brillo Manufacturing Company.

package woman's face and the words aunt jemima
Aunt Jemima®'s original trademark was red on the top, white on the bottom.
The package coloring is still in use.
Registered by the Quaker Oats Company.

the word vaseline surrounded by characters the words vaseline chesebrough
Vaseline® was first used for Petroleum Jelly in 1899 and first registered as a U.S. Trademark in 1925.
It was registered by the Chesebrough Manufacturing Company and is now owned by Conopco, Inc. doing business as Chesebrough Pond's.

picture of a hershey's chocolate kiss hershey's chocolate kiss
Hershey's Kisses® have maintained their look since their first registration in 1923.

the word wonder the word wonder with circles and a line above and a line below
The Wonder® trademark has expanded from loaf bread to include tortillas. It was first used in 1921.
Registered in to the Interstate Brands Company in 1996.

To read more about brands see Why Did They Name It...? by Hannah Campbell and Soap, Sex, and Cigarettes: A Cultural History of American Advertising by Juliann Sivulka. To read more about Aunt Jemima see Slave in a Box: The Strange Career of Aunt Jemina by M. M. Manring. This material may be duplicated providing appropriate credit is given.