Stamping your initials vs using a makers mark

The distinction will be between initials vs. a mark. If they are initials, then no TM is needed. However, when they are so stylized, I could see the argument being made that it needs to be trademarked. I’m not sure who determines if they are “too-stylized” to be recognizable as initials though.

I’m actually in the same boat as you in that I use a stylized version of my initials EC as my mark (years ago I used something else that I actually did TM). They aren’t as stylized as yours though and even then, I wonder if I should get a TM so it may pay to investigate it further. Just something to think about I guess

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Hi Erich,
Now I am a little confused about trademarks vs name. I thought the statute said that you could use your name or a trademark along with your metal quality stamp. Do your initials qualify as your name? I didn’t think so, but educate me. I thought you’d need to use at least a first initial plus your last name?

Hi Erich,

First, I love your mark. For me, it immediately evoked an image of the sea. Then I realized I had already looked at your gallery here. Anyway, it’s perfect.

As with most things, so much depends on interpretation, I suppose. How far can you go with a stylized font, for example, before initials are no longer recognizable as actual letters? Does it count if you need a hint to “see” the initials?

I think you can contend that those are your initials. I certainly make the same contention about my mark. But getting a trademark would definitely put all those concerns to rest. Until then, my maker’s mark is my initials – just in case anyone’s asking. :slight_smile:


Name initials are a better idea, as they are original. My business name is
“Gemz Consulting Services”. So this in mind, I’m using only “GEMZ” as my
name-trademark. Original? Yes, and it’s officially sanctioned by the
Province of Ontario!

Gerry Lewy

Thanks Alec! I loved your mark as well. Very creative. . . almost Tolkien-esque. My guess is that we’d probably both be well-served by getting an official TM, but I hate overthinking some things. Pretty much every jeweler I know uses their initials to mark their work without a TM, so I assume that it is either fine or that it’s simply not worth prosecuting or at the least, a gray-area. Honestly, I’m not sure who makes the call as to whether initials constitute a “name” and whether or not that person is in violation of any law.

Hi Royjohn,

I just realized that I partial replied to you and Alec in the same post. Sorry about that. I’m not sure if initials qualify as a name or not or who it is that makes that call, but every jeweler I know marks their work this way (initials with no TM) and none seemed to think there was anything wrong with it. Given, they could all be wrong, but given that I haven’t heard of wide-spread jeweler/TM "crackdowns, I guess I’m willing to roll the dice for the time being.

Of course, it’s not like the TM is that big of a deal to go through. But it is still another hoop to jump through at the moment when I’m barely treading water as it is :wink:

Hi Erich,
Thanks for the personal reply…if I’m not mistaken, the law says if you hallmark ( as with 925 or “sterling” for sterling silver) you must also include a registered trademark or “your name,” so my next question was what qualifies as your name…the last time this came up some years ago, a couple of people said just to use your name or initials and let it go at that, since, as you say, there really hasn’t ever been any enforcement of this. Application for registration of a trademark was $350 last time I looked, and that does not include the search of previous trademarks, if you use some firm for the search. You can search yourself and that might be good enough, esp. for a stylized initials like yours. IDK what happens if they decide to deny your application, say because you duplicate some very old trademark…I suppose you lose your $350 and go back and start over. Probably I will use my initials or my name (“rkersey”) and let it go at that.

The Feds does crack down on you for infringing trademarks, like making Disney characters without authorization, but in this matter of hallmarking, as I said (and others have also, as I noted above) they don’t seem to do anything. I don’t see why they would get involved unless you were undercarating…and with sterling, who would check to see if you were “undercarating.” I’m not sure there is even an easy test for it. Now if your name or initials infringed on someone else’s trademark, that might be an issue of someone complained.
Very Best Regards,
Roy Kersey

Hi again, Erich,
I misspelled in the last phrase of my message…it should be “if someone complained” rather than “of someone complained,” of course.

I took a look at the trademark search at the USPTO (Patent and Trademark Office) and it looks like there are NO current trademarks registered with my initials (RJK), so I gather a trademark registration would be relatively simple. If you use the simplest and cheapest application, it is $225. To get this reduced fee, all you have to do is agree to do the whole thing by email and pay in advance. So it seems it would be simple. I’m not making enough at present to justify the expense, but if I get going, it will be easy enough to apply. There is a way to include your identifying graphics in the application. In other words, if your initials were taken, your initials in the design might make it anyway, I guess. You also have to specify a type of goods, so if you had a trademark for jewelry and someone else wanted the same for textiles, both could be allowed with the same text and graphics, I suppose.

There are a number of short videos about various aspects of applying. I looked at the first one to deterimine whether I could use the cheapest method of filing, and it was simple and understandable.

Nice to know the process is workable. Hope this interests you.

In Canada, my first name of my business is Registered with the Ontario government. I’m using that instead of my given name!
It’s been searched for any copying, and all is clear! I still will use my stamp of “925” on everything I make in silver!

Gerry! from my mobile-phone!

Hey, Gerry,
Thanks for your reply…love your videos, thanks so much for them!

I took a look at the USPTO website and it appears that my initials are unused by anyone as a current trademark, so if I decided to use them instead of my name, it would only cost me $225 to register on line. Not impossible…
Very Best,

Morning Roy,

Sorry for my delayed reply, but I’m having an extremely difficult time keeping my head above water this week (which ordinarily sounds great to me, but not in the work sense. . .stupid dive humor :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:)

You are correct though. If your application is denied, you are out the filing fee. It’s important to note that in the case of Disney characters, that is a matter of copyright infringement rather than trademark. Those are two different areas and even then, the Fed doesn’t pursue those cases unless Disney brings them forward. It is usually the responsibility of the TM holder to prosecute these things. . .which they need to do in order to keep their TM valid. For instance, ever hear of Disney going after some small daycare place or something seemingly benign like that? It’s not that they want to punish the facility, but if they don’t and a larger entity does the same thing, it will be harder to prosecute because they’ve let others get away with it. Make sense? (One of the joys of having married an attorney is that I get a little more insight to some of this stuff).

Anyhow, the application is moderately simple and I’ve done it once myself already a number of years ago, but I guess I need to spend the time and money to do it again just to make sure all my bases are covered. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure I suppose.

Thanks again!