I'm planning on using a slogan that I could trademark and was wondering if using the acronym "JPEG" is possible? I want to reference the fileformat .jpeg not the joint comittee it's short for. I'm thinking that the fileformat is a universally known thing but is it possible still land in hot water? I'm thinking about using ".jpeg" including the dot and in lower case.

  • 2
    From a marketing standpoint, being so specific in branding is generally a bad idea regardless of the legality of it. It would be akin to calling something a "Kleenex Holder" rather than a "Tissue holder". Even if it were 100% legally okay, it's just bad branding (unless you own Kleenex). JPG is an image... use a general term for image, not a specific term.
    – Scott
    Apr 30, 2016 at 20:52
  • Is JPEG a trademark? I'm not sure it is. So maybe figuring that out should be your first step
    – Mohair
    Apr 30, 2016 at 22:03

1 Answer 1


I'm guessing that this will still be trouble. Whether the file format is universally known does not affect the validity of a trademark (if anything, the trademark is strengthened).

Trademarks serve to identify origin, and trademark owners can enforce their trademark. In brief, if an average consumer may confuse an unauthorized use of the mark as originating from the owners, it is an infringement. Usually this requires that the unauthorized use occurs within the same industry, unless the trademark is very well-known.

Note that simple reference is fine, those are generally not confused as originating from the trademark owners. However, you want to trademark your very reference to ".jpeg". This may cause problems, as it is identifiable with JPEG, the Joint Photographic Experts Group. The slogan may be confused as originating from them and they likely have the ability to enforce trademark rights. That's my take anyway, if you choose to continue down this path, you should consult a lawyer.

  • Huh? How does this make any sense? You're not using it to identify something of your own - but something that belongs to someone else. Am I not allowed to say "iPhone" because that's a trademark owned by Apple? How will I identify the object? This is wrong. The OP is not using the Trademark to name a product of his/her own, but rather to identify the file format. Your answer doesn't answer the question in the slightest. And this answer gets an up vote... sigh :/
    – Zizouz212
    May 31, 2016 at 1:47
  • @Zizouz212 I agree that simply using JPG to refer to the format itself is not a trademark violation, that's part of the point of trademarks. I meant to emphasize that trademarking that very slogan which references the format might be troublesome (I'm not 100% sure though). Looking over my answer, my wording for that is terrible, thanks for your comment. Edit coming shortly.
    – DPenner1
    May 31, 2016 at 2:26

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