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OPINION: The process of adapting a trademark in times of crisis.

  • 2020, May
  • By Gustavo A. A. Sena
Logos Pandemia

Changes and adaptations of logos, messages in accordance with the pandemic, new ways of connecting with the consumers and, above all, the arising of a new intellectual heritage of the modified trademarks. What and how to protect them, or not, in this new scenario.

The world today is facing a great challenge: to avoid the spreading of a disease that, slowly and far and wide the globe, has taken thousands of lives and, as if that were not enough, to manage that the economies of the different countries stay afloat, trying to minimize the damage caused by the isolation and the stoppage in activities.

In this context, many companies have shown quickness, dynamism, and response speed both in their sales systems and in the accompaniment of the events through marketing and advertisement.

With creativity and a capacity for adaptation, they modified their logotypes and isotypes, transmitting or showing the same message that the civil society is receiving, asking for social distancing. Examples of that are the ones illustrating this article and others in the automotive industry. (Source: CNN -

This is a sample of how the big brands are updated and run -event if momentarily- behind the great events by creating new distinctive sings or signs that derive from the usual trademarks and that are translated into original slogans, figurative or composite trademarks or even sequential or motion trademarks.

However, we should reflect on something: do we, as a company, register those changes? The message that they transmit may have a transitory validity and, thus, so may do the signs in question. Or not. It will depend on the marketing policy of each company, though some of these signs are really original and may be called to last for the whole duration of the pandemic, and event beyond it.

The novelty is not in the resource of modifying the sign or the mark per se, but in the result arising from it. In our opinion, the more original the new sign is, the greater the convenience and need to protect it as a trademark will be.

The “facing elbow” of Mercado Libre, represent the salutation in pandemic times but can also give the idea of joint work, of strength, going beyond the agreement represented by the handshake of the original logo. The “Burger in” invites us to stay at home, but also may convey the “support” or the “stay inside” a subject, a campaign or an idea. Audi and Volkswagen created motion or sequential trademarks, protectable per se, by means of the movement of the circles and letters forming their logos, as well as Zara, that also used the resource of separating and joining the letters forming its name. In every case, the corresponding copyright of the campaigns is also added.

All in all, the originality of the resulting sign, its permanence during and beyond the pandemic, the possibility of using at some other time are elements that the owners of the signs at hand will have to analyze in order to decide whether to register them as a trademark, feasible and, in some case, we consider necessary and even imperative.



Gustavo A A Sena

The author is partner at the law firm SENA & BERTON MORENO founded in 1938

About Us

SENA & BERTON MORENO was founded in 1937 by ALFREDO SENA and ERNESTO E. BERTON MORENO as a Patent and Trademarks Agency with a stable staff of only four people. Since then, the Firm has grown to reach its current size of forty people, working at our offices located only two blocks away from the Government House and at the heart of the commercial and financial district of the city. Ver más