Trademarks include words and short phrases used by legal entities to identify themselves and their products and services. Often, these names are written in several ways with variations in capitalization, punctuation, and formatting. The advice in this page also applies to names and phrases used to identify individuals, movements, groups, forums, projects, events, and other non-commercial entities and their output.

When deciding how to format a trademark, editors should examine styles already in use by independent reliable sources. From among those, choose the style that most closely resembles standard English – regardless of the preference of the trademark owner. Do not invent new styles that are not used by independent reliable sources. This practice helps ensure consistency in language and avoids drawing undue attention to some subjects rather than others. Listed below are more specific recommendations for frequently occurring nonstandard formats.

This guideline (in its entirety) applies to all trademarks, all service marks, all business names, and all other names of business entities.

General rules

Mergers, partnerships, and other combined names

The names of merged companies, partnerships, consolidated divisions, and merged product lines vary by organization, and there are many styles. Beware assumptions about how such names are constructed and what they mean; a complex real example is Morgan Stanley Dean Witter Discover & Co., which resulted from a merger of two corporations, while its name, built from parts of those of previous entities that were themselves the results of mergers, consists of two last names, a first and last name, a company name, and an abbreviation.

The ampersand (&) is frequently used in trademarks (e.g. AT&T), and the plus symbol (+) occasionally (as in Springer Science+Business Media), as substitutes for the word "and". A long-standing trend has been to drop the word entirely (along with commas sometimes) in long, multi-party business names, especially after mergers or the addition of a partner (for example, Harcourt, Brace & Company became Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, later part of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt).

More recently, some have even taken to removing spaces and using camelcase (e.g. DaimlerChrysler), sometimes unpredictably (as in JPMorgan Chase).

If in doubt about a modern company, their website's small print, contact page, or legal disclaimers (privacy policy, etc.) may provide the official company name, and online searches of corporation registrations and of trademarks can also be used for this purpose. (Note, however, that Wikipedia article titles are usually given the most common name in reliable sources, which might not be the official name.)

Trademarks that begin with a lowercase letter

See also: Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Capital letters

Trademarks that officially begin with a lowercase letter raise several problems because they break the normal capitalization rules of English that proper names are written with initial capital letters wherever they occur in a sentence.

Not all trademarks with a pronunciation that could have fit this pattern actually do so, and should not be re-styled to conform to it (use NEdit not "nEdit", E-Trade not "eTrade"; Xbox, not "xBox").

Indicating stylizations

In the article about a trademark, it is conventional to give the normal English spelling in the lead section, followed by a note, such as "(stylized as ...)" (or "(stylised as ...)" depending on the article's variety of English), with the stylized version (which may include simple stylization, like capitalization changes, decorative characters, or superscripting, but not colorization, attempts to emulate font choices, or other elaborate effects),[c] then resume using an alternative that follows the usual rules of spelling and punctuation, for the remainder of the article. In other articles that mention the subject, use only the normal English spelling, not the stylization.

However, if the title of the article is the stylized version of the name (e.g. iPod), it should be given in the boldfaced title recapitulation at the beginning of the lead (i.e., without a "stylized as" note), and used throughout the text (and, in most cases, in other articles that mention it). The lead may also have a note (e.g., "sometimes also written ...") indicating the unstylized version if it is also commonly attested in reliable sources, especially if any confusion could result from its absence.

When a stylization appears only in a logo rather than within text (in either primary or independent reliable sources), it generally does not need to be mentioned at the top of the article. For example, Facebook uses a lower case "f" in its logo, while within text it solely uses "Facebook" to refer to itself. Similarly, Wikipedia uses "WIKIPEDIA" in the logo but elsewhere uses "Wikipedia" (although the relevant information is still discussed at Wikipedia logo). Adidas, on the other hand, uses "adidas" rather than "Adidas" in running text when referring to the company, and the stylism is therefore mentioned.

Use of graphic logos

See also: Wikipedia:Non-free content, Wikipedia:Logos, and Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Icons

Product logos and corporate logos, such as the stylized rendition of the word Dell used by Dell Inc., whether copyrighted or not, may be used once in the infobox or corner of articles about the related product, service, company, or entity.

Although many companies claim copyright over their logos, the use of the logo in an encyclopedia article may be considered fair use. Please tag logo images with ((non-free logo)). Some logos are free content because they are in the public domain or are under a free license: for example, logos consisting of short text may not be eligible for copyright protection, and old logos that were published without a copyright notice have likely fallen into the public domain. When this is definitely the case, the ((trademark)) tag may be used instead. However, when in doubt, err on the side of caution per non-free content policy by assuming that the logo is copyrighted.

Note that non-free logos should only be used in the infoboxes of the primary article(s) to which they are affiliated; i.e. a company logo may be used in the article about that company, but not in a separate article about one of the company's products.

Distinguish clearly between the trademark and the company name when, as with Dell, it is customary to do so. Company names should normally be given in the most common form in English; only specify International Business Machines Corporation to state that that is the legal name, otherwise call it IBM, as our sources do.

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Toys "R" Us has quotation marks around the R because it is treated this way consistently in reliable sources (probably because the company does this itself in running text, despite that punctuation not being in their graphical logo). This example should not be taken as an instruction to add quotation marks to symbol-for-word substitutions in other proper names, e.g. the film title 2 Fast 2 Furious.
  2. ^ Wikipedia uses sentence case for sentences, article titles, section titles, table headers, image captions, list entries (in most cases), and entries in infoboxes and similar templates, among other things. Any instructions in MoS about the start of a sentence apply to items using sentence case.
  3. ^ An exception to the "elaborate effects" rule is made at the articles on the TeX and LaTeX text formatting systems, because the more detailed stylizations represent the actual treatment in reliable sources, and also serve to illustrate what these electronic typesetting systems do.