Tips to Trademarking Mobile App icons

Smartphones have played a greater role in revolutionising the interaction between brands and consumers. Companies now focus on registering their smartphone app icons as trademarks as they play a key role in distinguishing between a large number of competing apps. An icon registered as a trademark gives you exclusive rights and discourages competitors from imitating or using confusingly similar icons to increase their customers.

The following insights enable companies ranging from startups to MNCs to ensure their mobile app icons are protected in the UAE. Trademark agents in the UAE can assist you in the process. Read ahead to know further:

Choose a distinctive sign

A trademark needs to be distinctive to serve its original function as a commercial identifier. If your app icon is overly simplistic or abstractly graphic, it may not qualify for registration. Such a trademark may be refused on grounds of its banal, decorative or functional character.

Be original

A smartphone app made up of elements directly describing the activities of the company is unfit to be registered as a trademark. Similarly, a visually generic app icon will also be rejected by the trademark examiners. Such trademarks are weak marks with no ability to distinguish your app from that of the competitors in the same category. Having a weak trademark will also make it tough for you to enforce it.

Use distinctive colours

Colours are powerful brand identifiers and can contribute to the strength of your trademark. If you wish to stand out from competitors, you can select one or more original colours as part of the trademark. In the world of mobile apps, certain colours have become common identifiers for specific categories. For example, green is being widely used by communication apps (example: WhatsApp, Wechat). You can stand away from the pack by choosing a colour that is different from the other well-known apps in your category.

Don’t fall for letter abbreviations

An app offers limited space to include the key brand elements. Most often the brand names are too long to be included in the icon design. Most brands navigate this conundrum by depicting the first letter of the brand name. For example, WhatsApp includes the ‘W’, Facebook the ‘F’ and Netflix the ‘N’ in its icon. From a trademark perspective, this may not augur well for the strength of your mark. Some countries may not even accept ‘letter abbreviation’ as a trademark. You can come up with unique ideas to stand out from other apps doing the same.

Use your existing company logo (if possible)

Recently many brands have started relying upon their stand-alone e-commerce branding to emphasize their foray into the digital space. However, such branding will not be good if you wish to merge your online and offline strategies into a uniform customer experience. You can think of your existing company logo and adopt it as an app icon. It allows you to capitalize on the reputation of your existing brand and consolidate existing rights globally. Consult with trademark agents in Dubai for further assistance.

Register your trademarks

It is astonishing to note that only a few app owners have registered their app icons as trademarks. Even though the big companies have secured their app icon trademark rights, the small ones are yet to make the move. This can be due to ignorance, oversight or the false assumption that the company name will suffice. The worry about the cost of trademark registration in the UAE is also another reason why start-ups hesitate to register their trademarks. However, registering your trademarks gives you exclusive rights to defend your brand from infringement and helps you increase your customer base.

Consult with the Best Trademark Agents in the UAE

When you apply for trademark registration in the UAE for an app icon, you need to make certain critical decisions. Wrong decisions may either delay your registration process or get your application rejected. Brand owners may not have adequate IP knowledge and experience to make proper trademark-related decisions. Trademark agents in the UAE such as Jitendra Intellectual Property (JIP) can advise you on critical matters so that you can make the right decisions.

JIP is a leading provider of trademark registration services in Dubai serving reputed clients from a diverse range of industries. We have a team of highly qualified trademark experts who can guide you on trademark registration, renewal, trademark search and trademark watch services. JIP also offers services related to the Madrid Protocol of International Trademark Registration. Contact us today for comprehensive IP advice.

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