In case you’re wondering, this design is a federally-registered non-verbal trademark.
The owner identified it as a "Miscellaneous Design," without further detail or description (since it predated the more rigorous rules on supplying the Trademark Office with an accurate and detailed description of the mark).
The U.S. Trademark Office assigned to this design mark Design Code 24.15.25 ("other arrows") and in some cases 26.17.09 ("bands, curved; bars, curved; curved lines, bands or bars; lines, curved.").
So, now that you’re armed with all this valuable information, certainly you can answer three simple questions: (1) Who owns it? (2) What is it? and (3) What goods or services are identified and distinguished by this non-verbal design mark?
(1) Does this help answer my first question?
(2) As to what it is, most individuals at the Trademark Office who have coded the design connecting the "a" to "z" see an arrow, but some see a curved line too.
I see a smile (perhaps my positive outlook on life), but I’m aware of at least one other optimist, here. Actually, Graphic Design Blog identifies the Amazon.com logo as one of 25 logos with "hidden messages," one being the apparent smile. In addition, if you were to pay close attention to a previously used animated version of the Amazon.com logo, I am informed you might be able to see another more unwholesome and unintended perspective of the design, apparently an animated version from the year 2000 where the arrow grows from left to right, as described here.
(3) Now, as to what goods or services are identified and distinguished by this "miscellaneous" design mark, it is only federally-registered in the U.S. within Int’l Class 39 for "packaging of articles for transport for others." Amazon.com sought registration of the "miscellaneous" design in Int’l Classes 35, 36, 38, 41, and 42, but each of those applications eventually was abandoned.
Having said that, the "miscellaneous" design appears as part of the Amazon.com composite logo shown above and is federally-registered in that composite form for a variety of services falling in the same Int’l Classes that were abandoned for the stand-alone non-verbal logo, namely, 35, 36, 38, 41, and 42.
Lessons to be Learned?
- The "miscellaneous" description won’t cut it anymore, more detail is now required;
- Sometimes designs can communicate multiple meanings and commercial impressions;
- Ultimately, the meaning of a non-verbal design is based on the impression actually created in the minds of consumers, not what may have been intended by the trademark owner or assigned by the Trademark Office;
- The assignment of U.S. Trademark Office Design Codes is rather subjective and quite imperfect; and
- Searching to clear non-verbal logos can be quite difficult and is more art than science.