My daughter captured this striking photo on a recent trip to Times Square in New York City:
Here is my less-artsy close-up of the same advertising, to focus in on the Snapchat logo, complete with its rounded-corner square border and dot matrix surrounding the ghost shape:
What do you think, should we add the ghost to the list of Singular Iconic Non-Verbal Logos?
Forbes reported two days ago, that although the stock price is a bit down since the company IPO launched earlier this month, Snapchat remains #1 for searches on the iOS App Store.
The demographic for Snapchat users apparently is much younger than other popular social media platforms, and for what it’s worth, I’m not too surprised, as both of my high-school-aged children communicate almost exclusively with friends using Snapchat these days.
Question: Son, who are you texting? Answer: Oh, I never text anymore, I’m snapping Joe, or I just snapped Joe. Note the verbing success most social media brands would envy and welcome.
So, what we might consider concluding is that not only does the non-verbal ghost logo identify Snapchat without using any words, the brand can be truncated to Snap and verbed based solely on the non-verbal logo too. No doubt the stock price will soar based on that revelation alone.
In terms of trademark assets, Snapchat has federal registrations for its ghost image here and here. And, despite no need for words to identify itself, Snapchat appears devoted to building a portfolio of SNAPCHAT word registrations (here, here, and here) and on creating a “family” of SNAP marks, such as SNAPCASH, SNAPCHANNEL, SNAPCODE, SNAP ADS, and SNAPMOJI.
It also has been busy truncating its corporate name to Snap, and apparently in line with this effort, it has been — let’s just say — snapping up several other federally-registered SNAP and Snap-formatives, see here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here (you get the picture), including SNAP INTERACTIVE and the corresponding logo below (chock-full of express reps and warranties), apparently a Christmas present from just last year:
Actually, the early Christmas and pre-IPO present back in October 2016 was a federal trademark infringement lawsuit by Snap Interactive following Snapchat’s truncation to Snap Inc. But, when an IPO freight train is coming down the tracks, a problem like that is just another detail and just becomes another cost of doing business, but in this case, it appears Snapchat actually acquired a meaningful asset and was able to gain a few valuable years of priority as part of the deal.
Last, perhaps most interesting is SnapChat’s budding interest in claiming exclusive rights in the color yellow for certain goods in Int’l Class 9 (Computer application software for mobile phones, portable media players, and handheld computers, namely, software for sending digital photos, videos, images, and text to others via the global computer network), with the claimed mark currently described this way: “The mark consists of solely the color yellow. The square shape and ghost design shown in dotted lines are not claimed as part of the mark.” Here it is:
Let’s just say, the USPTO is not (yet) convinced that the claimed single color mark serves as a trademark and is distinctive, here is an Office Action from a little over a month ago to prove it.
What do you think, whatever you may think about the non-verbal ghost’s ability to do so, is Snapchat really identified by the yellow color alone for those goods? OK, I’ll ask my kids too.