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New trademark trend: QR CODES as trademarks?

Posted by admin on: May 27th, 2011

Advertisements (billboards, magazine ads, business cards) are more and more frequently featuring QR codes on them. A QR code directs users with a camera equipped mobile device (and a free code reader application) to a website or other targeted online information.

I have noticed a recent trend of trademarks and logos incorporating QR codes.  For  example, the following are pending applications or registrations at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office:

  •  – pending application for footwear
  • pending application for crossword puzzles accessible by QR code scan
  • pending application for restoration services, and historic preservation services; Engineering and design services, namely project engineering and design for new and existing buildings and structures, lightweight structures, non-destructive building and structure disassembly; diagnostic engineering services for new and existing buildings and structures; new and existing building envelope diagnostic services, envelope repair and restoration design services; historic preservation engineering services, and facility assessment and capital planning services
  • pending application for shoes [Description of Mark: The mark consists of a QR code on the tongue of a shoe. The color gray is not claimed as a color or feature of the mark.]
  • pending application for Rubber or Silicone Jewelry as a fashion accessory that contains a QR Code or 2-dimensional bar code printed on it that when scanned will redirect to a user defined function on the internet
  •  – pending application for Computer hardware and software for processing data; computer hardware; computer software, namely, computer software for use in relation to on-line banking services; computer programs for managing an on-line payment system; Design and development of computer hardware and software; design and development of computer programs for managing an on-line payment system; design and development of electronic, on-line banking services; design and development of multi-channel banking applications; technical support services, namely, troubleshooting in the nature of diagnosing computer hardware and software problems
  • pending application for T-shirts; Pajamas; Sleep shirts; Tank tops; Tank-tops
  • QR CODE – pending application for wine
  • pending application for Social networking services in the field of pets and pet owners provided via a website
  • pending application for Computer application software for mobile devices, namely, software for use in electronic data transfer and storage
  • QR Code – registered on Supplemental register for ” TWO DIMENSIONAL DATA CODE READERS; BAR CODE READERS; TWO DIMENSIONAL DATACODE SCANNERS; BAR CODE SCANNERS; ELECTRONIC DATABASE FEATURING TWO DIMENSIONAL CODES RECORDED ON COMPUTER MEDIA AND CAPABLE OF BEING READ BY TWO DIMENSIONAL CODE READERS AND SCANNERS; COMPUTER PROGRAMS FOR TWO DIMENSIONAL CODE DRAWING, COMPUTER PROGRAMS FOR BAR CODE DRAWING, COMPUTER PROGRAM RECORDED ON COMPACT DISKS FOR TWO DIMENSIONAL CODE DRAWING; AND COMPUTER PROGRAM RECORDED ON MEMORY CARDS FOR TWO DIMENSIONAL CODE DRAWING”

Do the code images function as indicating the source of the goods or services at issue? Should they be disclaimed from the trademark application? Arguably, they are the modern equivalent of providing an address and phone number.

Will QR codes be here to stay as a part of advertising and branding? Or are they merely a passing fad?

One Response
  1. Reid says:

    What do I think of when I see fancy QR codes?
    The IPelton blog, of course!

    http://mashable.com/2011/07/23/creative-qr-codes/