* Yahoo! Registers First Favicon Trademark

Clock Tower Law Group filed historic favicon.ico trademark.

You know that little icon that appears next to the URL in your browser? The same little icon that appears in your bookmarks window, on browser tabs, and in web feeds? That little icon, the favicon, can now be registered as a trademark with the USPTO. Yahoo! registered (what I believe to be) the first favicon trademark on 01/15/08.

I have always believed that favicon (short for “FAVorite ICON”) files are trademarks when they are distinct and act as source identifiers. But I could find no evidence of anyone ever trying to register a favicon.ico file as a trademark. If favicon.ico files were not important, then Google, Apple, Linux, Microsoft, Right Media, Yahoo!, and others would not spend so much time on them. Right Media decided to test the trademark waters with its favicon trademark application on 05/02/07.

At first glance, it is not immediately apparent that the trademarked favicon is, in fact, a favicon. You have to look at the specimens and the specimen description from the file wrapper (available via the USPTO’s TDR (Trademark Document Retrieval) database):

SPECIMEN DESCRIPTION: one page from applicant’s website showing the trademark as a favorite icon file, also known as a favicon.ico or favicon file; and another web page from a web-based feed reader showing the mark from and indicating the source of applicant’s weblog feed

And here are the specimens marked up to show the favicons:

Favicon Specimen 1

Favicon Specimen 2

Now that favicon.ico files can be registered as trademarks, everybody might want one!

In the spirit of full disclosure, Right Media (acquired by Yahoo!) is/was a client of Clock Tower Law Group and is mentioned in this article.

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