Be Wary When Registering Black-and-White Trademarks Abroad

Takeaway: In the United States, filing a trademark registration for a logo and presenting it in black and white allows the trademark owner to use the mark in any color.  However, that is not always the case abroad, so trademark owners should also check with local counsel for rules pertaining to how the presentation of color is treated in foreign jurisdictions.

In numerous countries, filing a black-and-white registration for a trademark may result in protection for only the black-and-white version of the mark.  This is the case in the EU, Thailand, and Kazakhstan as well as other countries (although this is a case-specific issue, so always check with local counsel).

Further, some countries even require that the use of the trademark be in black-and-white or else the registration may be subject to cancellation on non-use grounds.

Therefore, when beginning to expand internationally, be sure to ask about the color requirement in the countries you are planning to expand to, as one of your pre-filing questions with local counsel.