Motion Marks: How to Register and Protect Moving Trademarks

Have you ever seen a logo that moves or changes shape, color, or sound? The Pixar lamp at the beginning of their movies is a great example. Motion marks are exactly what the name implies, trademarks that consist of moving visuals. Motion marks are a type of non-traditional trademark, which are trademarks that do not consist of static words, logos, or designs. Other types of non-traditional trademarks include colors, sounds, smells, certification marks, and even trade dress.

a curved highway at night where the lights of the cars create streaking lines of light

Have you ever seen a logo that moves or changes shape, color, or sound? The Pixar lamp at the beginning of their movies is a great example. Motion marks are exactly what the name implies, trademarks that consist of moving visuals. Motion marks are a type of non-traditional trademark, which are trademarks that do not consist of static words, logos, or designs. Other types of non-traditional trademarks include colors, sounds, smells, certification marks, and even trade dress.

Motion marks can be a powerful way to create a unique and memorable brand identity and to stand out from the competition. However, they also face some challenges in terms of registration and protection. In this blog post, we will discuss some of the main issues and tips for registering and protecting your motion marks.

How to Register a Motion Mark

To register a motion mark, you need to follow the same general process as for any other trademark. You need to file an application with the USPTO and pay the required fees. You also need to provide the following information and materials:

  • A textual explanation of the mark: You need to describe the motion mark in clear and concise terms, such as its duration, sequence, direction, speed, and sound. For example, “The mark consists of a stylized letter G that changes colors and shapes while rotating clockwise and accompanied by a musical note.”

  • A drawing of the mark: You need to provide a graphical representation of the mark that can serve as the “drawing” of the mark. You can either show a single point in the movement or up to five freeze frames showing various points in the movement.

  • A specimen of the mark: You need to provide an audiovisual file that shows the entire motion mark as it is used in commerce. The file must be in MP3 or WAV format for audio and JPEG or PDF format for video. The file must not exceed 5 MB in size or 5 minutes in length.

  • A statement of use: You need to declare that you are using or intend to use the motion mark in connection with your goods or services. You also need to specify the date of first use and the class of goods or services.

How to Protect a Motion Mark

To protect a motion mark from infringement or dilution, you need to prove that your motion mark is distinctive and serves as a source identifier for your goods or services. This means that your mark must not be generic, descriptive, functional, or common in your industry. For example, a mark for a clock that shows the time would likely be rejected as being functional and common.

To prove distinctiveness, you may need to provide evidence of use and recognition of your motion mark by consumers. This may include surveys, testimonials, sales figures, advertising expenditures, media coverage, awards, or any other relevant information that shows that your motion mark has acquired secondary meaning or goodwill.

You also need to monitor and enforce your rights against any potential infringers or diluters of your motion mark. This may involve sending cease and desist letters, filing oppositions or cancellations with the USPTO, initiating lawsuits in federal court, seeking injunctions or damages, or negotiating settlements or licenses.

Motion marks are an innovative and creative way to express your brand personality and values. However, they also require careful planning and strategy to register and protect them. If you are interested in learning more about registering a motion mark for your business, you can contact us. We are an experienced trademark law firm who can advise you on the best way to proceed.