Executive Summaries May 25, 2023

BIMI (Brand Indicators for Message Identification): Registered Trademark Required

BIMI, which stands for "Brand Indicators for Message Identification," allows companies to display their logo on the left side of authenticated emails.

In a time when consumers receive countless emails in their inboxes, this feature makes it possible to see immediately which emails come from your company and avoid opening unauthenticated emails that may be phishing attempts. Among other things, this increased visibility of a company's logo can make the BIMI service interesting for many companies.

BIMI is not yet available on all email platforms, but many have already implemented it or are planning to do so soon. Some platforms, such as Gmail and the entire Google suite, require that the logo be certified by a VMC, or a “Verified Mark Certificate”. This certification requires the logo to be registered as a trademark. Additionally, we note that the cost for a VMC is around US$1,500 per year, aside from the trademark registration process for the logo.

Other less popular platforms for businesses and consumers, such as Yahoo, AOL or Laposte, do not yet require a VMC. Therefore, the logo doesn't need to be registered as a trademark to use BIMI on these platforms.

Under these circumstances, companies wishing to use BIMI will benefit from obtaining a trademark registration for their logo and a VMC, which will allow them to use BIMI on the most popular platforms, such as the Google suite.

Several intellectual property offices are recognized for VMC certification, including those in Canada, the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia and Japan.

You must therefore bear in mind which jurisdictions are of interest to your company and the registration timeline specific to each office when determining which jurisdiction is the most appropriate to obtain the logo registration. Given that the registration process may take up to 48 months to be completed in Canada, it is usually wiser to opt for another office. In the United Kingdom, for example, barring any pitfalls, registration can be obtained in only four months.

Other elements to be considered are the language, size and colour of the logo. Indeed, the BIMI service can only target a single logo that will serve as a trademark indicator for the identification of messages in all jurisdictions. Since the logo itself appears in a round patch, it is essential to determine which version must be registered as a trademark to obtain the required VMC certification.

Don't hesitate to contact our team of trademark specialists who works with businesses in all sectors of activity and is aware of various mechanisms to optimize your trademark protection strategy. They will be pleased to guide you in your logo protection strategy, especially if you wish to use the BIMI service.

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