It's no secret that the name of some programming languages are single-letter (sometimes with some non-letter characters) such as C, C++, C#, D, etc.

A previous question asked about the situation of copyright of programming language name(s), and the answer lists Apple's Swift OOP language as an example of trademarked programming language names.

What this post asks is that: are single-letter programming language names trademarkable, both as plain text and as visual design, considering the name in on itself has little to no novelty.

  • 2
    Novelty is not a criterion for trademark protection. There are thousands of registered trademarks, at least, that lack novelty. Consider as an example "Apple," mentioned in the question.
    – phoog
    Oct 20, 2020 at 16:32

2 Answers 2


In theory, yes. There are examples from some jurisdictions where single letters have been trademarked.

That said, the sorter the word is the more difficult it is to trademark (it must be easy to distinguish from other trademarks). Hence, C++ would be much easier to trademark as a word than just C.


Probably yes. But it is only a trademark violation when used in connection with a sale of good and services in a manner that is suggests affiliation with the programming language.

Thus, you can have a bar named "C++" but not you own programming language or updates to an existing programming language.

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