The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) issued a trademark registration for the term "Wikipedia" to the Wikimedia Foundation last week, bringing to a conclusion an application process that has taken over a year.
According to the USPTO's trademark database, Wikipedia was officially registered as a trademark on Tuesday, 10 January. The description of the class of goods and services for which the registration was issued reads, "Providing information in the field of general encyclopedic knowledge via the Internet". The Wikipedia trademark also has an international registration through the Madrid Protocol.
The application, filed with the help of attorney and Wikipedia editor Alex756, was originally received by the USPTO in September 2004. Although this may seem like a lengthy delay, in reality the process for reviewing trademark applications is quite drawn out, and a time frame like this is fairly typical.
The Wikimedia Foundation has also applied for other trademarks including "Wikinews" as well as "MediaWiki" for the underlying software. These marks will be published in the USPTO's Official Gazette on 7 February.
One advantage of trademark registration is the ability to use the federal registration symbol '®' as opposed to use of '™' or no designation after the mark. This gives notice that a trademark or servicemark is protected under federal law. Wikipedia may now be written Wikipedia® when used as a trademark.