Recently, UnderConsideration’s Brand New blog commented on the new logo adopted by Much Music. After 10 years of using MUCHMOREMUSIC, the logo was changed to MUCHMORE. The new logo is aesthetically more pleasing, but the change raises an important issue. Modernizing old logos can result in abandonment of the old mark, which means a loss of all trademark rights in the old logo.
In order to retain the trademark rights from the old version of the mark, the modified mark must contain what is the essence of the original mark and the new form must create the impression of being essentially the same mark. In other words, the new mark must retain the same overall commercial impression of the old mark. Generally, modernizing a mark will retain the same overall commercial impression of the old mark. However, the risk of creating a different commercial impression looms when elements are added to or deleted from the old mark.
In Much Music’s case, they deleted the term MUSIC, added color, and stylized the terms in a different way. The different stylization of the terms probably does not create a different commercial impression. However, the addition of color when the old logo did not have color and deletion of the term MUSIC could cause the new logo to create a commercial impression that is different from the old logo. The potential loss of 10 years of use could have a significant impact on the brand going forward. Therefore, it is important to keep this issue in mind when modernizing marks especially marks that have been used for many years.