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Google’s Busy Summer New Branding And New Holding Company

Google announced a new branding identity to the world on September 1, 2015. Read more about Google’s logo update on its official blog. Certainly other brands look to Google to take the lead in innovative branding. Whether you love or hate the new Google logo, it was updated for some very practical reasons. The font has changed in the GOOGLE word mark. In addition, the lower case “g” icon is replaced with the upper case “G” which identifies most of its apps. Google’s trademark modifications are strategic and purposeful design changes that accommodate users who are moving away from laptop use and are moving towards use on a tablet, mobile phone, or other smaller devices, such as a watch. These new marks signify that Google believes that the momentum towards mobile media is here to stay.

Google’s choice of font style in conjunction with the bright primary colors of the new logo will be easier to read in smaller fonts and on smaller devices. In addition to the GOOGLE mark being redesigned, the company introduced a new mark, the “G” logo. The new upper case “G” logo incorporates the four primary colors found in the word mark, improving the aesthetic look and increasing the bold visual appearance for smaller screens. Now if there comes a time when the GOOGLE mark is too small in visual appearance, the company has the option of using the “G” logo mark as an alternative.

In addition, to the two new marks Google introduced to the world, a third animated mark was launched. See Google’s official blog page and view the new animated mark, click on the play button for the video and the animated mark appears towards the end of the short video . This mark is also based on the primary colors of the GOOGLE word mark. It contains four dots blue, red, yellow and green that move about in several different patterns before coming back together to form the GOOGLE word mark or the “G” logo.

This type of animated mark raises interesting trademark issues for registration and enforcement purposes. It would fall into a category of marks referred to as nontraditional trademarks that include motion marks, color marks, and sound, shape, scent, taste and touch marks. Nontraditional marks are not common and are more difficult to register at the USPTO. Often, proof of acquired distinctiveness is required before the mark will register on the Principal Register. Motion marks are unique and the only one that comes to my mind is owned by Automobile Lamborghini Holding S.P.A. This motion mark was registered under U.S. Registration No. 2,793,439 in International Class 12 and protects the unique motion of opening the door of a motor vehicle, parallel to the body of the vehicle while raising the door above the vehicle.

Google for some time now has been at the forefront of dynamic branding. Google developed a fluid trademark before many thought of this branding strategy. View Google’s fluid marks and continuously changing  “doodles”. Fluid marks were an organic result of the new media age. However, they bring new challenges for trademark practitioners. We recommend to our clients that they should be as consistent as possible with trademark use. However, this can be difficult advice to apply to fluid marks. Most importantly, remember that fluid marks must function as source identifiers.

In addition to the new branding that Google announced in August, it also announced a reorganization of its corporate structure. The company once called Google will now be called Alphabet. Alphabet will be a holding company and parent company of Google. Many think that the restructuring will allow Google to focus on the core Internet-related businesses. Others wonder whether there will be branding under the name Alphabet. The New York Times wrote an article entitled Alphabet? Google Might Get Some Letters, referring to BMW’s use of Alphabet in its domain alphabet.com and as the name of its subsidiary that provides services to corporations with vehicle fleets. Whether Google will brand under Alphabet or simply use it as a trade name for its holding company is yet to be determined. However, I am confident that Google will continue to surprise us with its dynamic branding.

If you have questions regarding your branding program or want an evaluation of your trademark use, please feel free to contact our office for a courtesy consultation.