By: Kennington Groff
What’s a “favicon”? Surprisingly, while not a popular term, you probably see a favicon every day.
A favicon is a small pixel icon that appears at the top of a web browser on the tab:
A favicon serves as a branding identifier for your website so that internet users can easily locate your page when they have multiple tabs open in their browser. All of these icons act as source identifiers for the brand they are associated with.
The United States Patent and Trademark Office states that a trademark is a word, phrase, symbol, and/or design that identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods of one party from those of others. A service mark is a word, phrase, symbol, and/or design that identifies and distinguishes the source of a service rather than goods. Some examples include: brand names, slogans, and logos.
As technology evolves, people are beginning to brand their products in different ways. Before it will allow a trademark to be registered, the Trademark Office requires proof that the trademark is actually being used in a public-facing way. So is a favicon sufficient to prove that you are using the trademark in a public-facing way? While not a guaranteed answer, in certain circumstances the answer is “yes.” For example if your Client is trying to register a trademark in connection with a website that sells certain products online, the favicon may very well be an acceptable specimen. Technically, in this situation the favicon is being used in commerce.
As more applicants begin to submit favicons as the proof of use of a trademark, the Trademark Office will likely issue more guidelines on the use of favicons.