App icons be Trademarked? The app icon is the first visual indication that an app gives in the app store listing, among an ocean of mobile apps with different purposes and functionalities. It is crucial in distinguishing an app from its numerous competitors. To be uniquely remembered, the symbol uses the association of brand identification and familiarity created by its design. his parallels the role of trademarks, which serve as a recognizable symbol or design that identifies and differentiates an item or service from others; it must be distinct enough to represent just one source. There are various applications that a person uses or downloaded for any purpose and when a person opens the menu of their smartphones for using social networking app, email, e-commerce apps, wallet or payment apps, maps. By considering this, a question arises:
Do a person read the name of the app before entering it or do identify it just by its icon?
In the majority of situations, a person no longer reads whether they are accessing Instagram, Whatsapp, or Google Maps; instead, the person links the “image” with the application and the related brand or company just by seeing it. In other words, because these symbols have a specific purpose so can these icons be trademarked?
WHAT IS A TRADEMARK?
A trademark is a sign, a phrase, or a word in general. They can be used to symbolize a company or a specific product. Acronyms, fonts, phrases, and even specially designed colors are all examples of trademarks. Once an icon has been registered as a trademark, it preserves exclusivity and prohibits competitors from using similar-looking icons to steal the user base. This also implies that there should be no prior registration of a substantially similar mark in the relevant class. Before registering a symbol or logo as a trademark a person must check and make sure that their mark is not similar to any other existing trademark. According to a global survey of trademark registries, only a small percentage of app owners have registered their icons.
APP ICON REGISTRABILITY
Many app icons appear to be unimaginative, with some utilizing initials such as “M” for mail, “F” for Facebook, or “N” for Netflix; others using descriptive forms and popular colors in their industry, and still, others using their corporate logos. In order to act as a trade or commercial identifier, a trademark must be unique. Graphics that are overly simple or abstract may be rejected owing to their generic, attractive, or functional nature. (For example, a camera icon for a camera application or a general calculator icon for a calculator program).
WHAT CHARACTERIZES A GOOD APP ICON AS A TRADEMARK?
- The person must pick the distinctive sign that will be used in the
app icon, clearly in accordance with the company’s overall branding and IP strategy. Remember that these are icons, therefore the person must consider a symbolic or mixed trademark, and it’s best not to go too basic or abstract, since trademark offices may reject it due to its artistic or functional character.
- The person should make an effort to ensure that the symbol does not just explain the service, but rather adds a unique element to it.
- A trademark might be denied if it is too descriptive, and this is especially true when the trademark is an icon, which will immediately represent the company’s identity in a single click.
- The colors picked must be appropriate in this situation. Colors are powerful identifiers that add significantly to a brand’s worth and renown, particularly in an industry like technology, where everything is so visual.
- If the firm already has a logo, one option to explore is to utilize it. As long as it’s technically feasible and acceptable for the app’s icon.
- It is true in any IP sector, a search for availability should be conducted before selecting which icon the person wants to register as a trademark so that the trademark does not conflict with prior rights.
- Try not to change the app icon too much once it’s been registered. Trademarks are legitimate if they are utilized in the manner in which they were registered. A person only has to change their trademark if they want some update or modernization even yet, if the update differs from the original trademark in any way, it’s a good idea to register it as well. This is the case with Instagram, which has changed its emblem many times since its inception in 2010: from a brown and beige Polaroid-style camera to the present modernized icon in purple, pink, and orange colors.
An app’s distinctive icon helps it stand out to the users. To enhance their chances of gaining registration, app developers should explore icons or wordmarks that are descriptive, random, or creative and match them with a distinctive symbol or logo, while taking care to ensure that their marks do not infringe on those of third parties. Furthermore, app developers should be mindful of the market’s worldwide character and set their goals in accordance with international trademark protection.