By now, you must know, I’m a sucker for billboard ads. I really love to notice, study, comment on, and critique them, especially when there is an opportunity for some trademark storytelling.

This one for the Hampton Inn & Suites brand does not disappoint.

It appears that an IP holding company for Hilton, HLT Domestic IP LLC owns a pair of Supplemental Trademark Registrations for a pair of non-traditional trademarks, basically shapes without words — the outer border of its Hampton Inn & Suites logo, in a three-dimensional hexagonal shape: “The mark consists of a three-dimensional configuration of a hexagonal sign”:

It also owns a Supplemental Trademark Registration for the same three-dimensional hexagonal shape, in color: “The mark consists of a three-dimensional configuration of a hexagonal sign. The front of the sign is blue in color with a white outline and then a red outer outline. The sides and top of the sign are gray”:

Both of these non-traditional trademarks have twelve years of use each, so why no effort to seek Principal Registrations for them?

Could it be, this billboard ad is a precursor to Hilton claiming rights and attempting to show acquired distinctiveness in the hexagonal shape for hotel services?

Using the hexagonal border of the Hampton Inn & Suites logo as a carrier to highlight some key features of Hampton’s hotel services (free internet service and breakfast) is a nice application of the principle and benefit of employing, in essence, “look-for advertising” — without using those clunky words.

So, for anyone who recalls this post: Retail Sign Shape Trademarks: The “French Diamond Design” — and for anyone who also has a protractor handy, how close is Hampton’s hexagonal logo/sign to Denny’s hexagonal French Diamond Design logo?

  • Debbie Laskey, MBA

    Great billboard, Steve – I too enjoy checking out unique billboards. But, in Southern California, it appears that billboard creativity is at a minimum. Thanks for sharing!

  • I enjoyed this post. BUT there is one small problem with the registered trademark: the hexagon is the wrong shape. The registered trademark has points on the ends where the mark on the billboard has flat ends. I looked at the specimen (an actual sign) in the application and it matches the billboard’s representation, not the registered trademark. Various Google image search results also show that the Hampton Inn sign has flat ends, not points like the registered trademark.