As you may recall, last month, we had some fun trying to solve the mystery of a non-traditional and non-verbal trademark owned by Amazon.com, here.
This time the non-traditional and non-verbal mystery mark shown above is described in trademark filings as consisting of "four circles that increase in size from left to right." I call it an "increasingly intense ellipsis." What would you call it, if you had to give it a name?
More importantly, have you seen it before? Do you recognize it? Are you surprised to know it is registered and protected as a trademark? Do you know what goods and services are associated with it? Do you know who owns it?
OK, need more information?
You don’t need the products bearing this "increasingly intense ellipsis" mark or the services associated with it to shop online at Amazon.com or any other online retailer. Did that help?
No? Here’s another hint: It is used in close association with this service mark: Tap & Go.
Still not enough? Alright, enough suspense?
The visual answer and more discussion is below the jump.
Yes, MasterCard is the owner of this "increasingly intense ellipsis" (my words) mark, for financial services in Int’l Class 36, and smart cards in Int’l Class 9. The non-traditional mark is used in close association with MasterCard’s PayPass and Tap & Go marks at the physical — not virtual — point of retail sale.
Now, given that a trademark and service mark must (1) identify goods or services, (2) distinguish them from those of others, and (3) indicate the source of the goods or services, do you agree that the "increasingly intense ellipsis" performs each of these critical trademark functions?
If so, does it do so standing alone, without the closely associated MasterCard housemark or PayPass secondary mark?
Isn’t this the kind of mark where "look-for advertising" would help consumers know this actually is a trademark instead of simply non-distinctive ornamentation?