3-A Sanitary Standards Inc. (3-A SSI), McLean, Va., said it received official registration by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for “3A.” The Standard Character Mark (also known as a word mark) is used to register words, letters, numbers or any combination thereof. However, it does not lay claim to any particular font style, size, color or design element. In other words, a single word mark protects the phrase regardless of how the words are displayed, the company said.

The new word mark, as used by parties authorized by 3-A SSI, shows that the food handling equipment meets standards of design established by 3-A SSI, the company said.

Word marks provide broad protection of the word or phrase, regardless of how it is used.  They cover the characters even when combined with graphics or in logos.  In general, a word mark offers the broadest protection against infringers, the company said. Registration of the new word mark will extend the ability of 3-A SSI to act on potentially false or misleading claims of conformance to 3-A Sanitary Standards.

The “3A” word mark complements the stylized 3-A Symbol (also known as a design mark), which has been a registered mark of 3-A SSI since 1956. Voluntary use of the 3-A Symbol on dairy and food equipment conveys assurance that equipment meets sanitary standards, provides accepted criteria to equipment manufacturers for sanitary design, and establishes guidelines for uniform evaluation and compliance by sanitarians, the company said.