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When filing a logo or combined mark application in the USA, should I claim color?

The following factors must be taken into consideration when deciding whether or not to claim color in a logo application: the scope of protection you desire and the importance of the specific color(s) in terms of the image of your brand.

If no color claim is made, your logo is submitted in black and white and it is presumed to cover all colors. The benefits of not claiming color include a greater scope of protection of the shape of your mark and the flexibility of being able to use your logo in different color schemes, while still maintaining the protection. This option is advisable if the specific color(s) of your logo are not vital for the brand image.

On the other hand, if the colors of your logo are fundamental, and your customers recognize your brand because you use particular colors, it may be more suitable to claim the colors of your logo as a feature of the mark.  Claiming color implies a more limited scope of protection to the specific colors you claim, but it entails a higher degree of protection over the color itself (similar marks have a lower probability of co-existing if they are in the same colors). If you choose to claim color, your application must describe where each color appears in the mark.  Black, white or gray can be used as claimed features of the mark or to indicate areas that are not part of the mark, such as background, transparent areas, shading, etc.

For ideal protection, as some big companies do, it would be advisable to file two applications: one black and white logo without claiming color to better protect the shape of your mark, and one color logo with color claim to assure a protection of the mark with the particular colors you use.

If you have doubts as to whether or not you should claim color, contact us at

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