To give a brand optimal protection, it is crucial to register the brand name as a wordmark. In the case of a logo containing both a word and distinctive graphic elements, it would be wise to register it as a figurative trademark, as this will protect the combination of the word and the graphic elements.
If a competitor is using a similar brand name, a wordmark will probably suffice. But in some cases, words only resemble each other to a limited extent and the main similarity is between the graphic elements.
This problem is illustrated by a recent lawsuit that Toys ‘R’ Us brought against a toy shop in Houston. After Toys ‘R’ Us closed one of its branches in a shopping centre, another toy shop moved into the premises. Toys ‘R’ Us was none too pleased when they saw the new shop’s logo, TOYZ. While the word TOYZ bears some similarity to Toys 'R' Us, the question is to what extent it is possible to lay claim to a word as common as ‘toys’. Any resemblance between these trademarks is predominantly due to the graphic elements, and that is exactly what Toys 'R' Us is objecting to. This is an interesting case, and if you ask us, there’s no guarantee that Toys 'R' Us will win it.