Device Constituents

Date Published

Note: The trade marks contained within this document are for educational purposes only. Unauthorised use of a similar or identical trade mark to the trade mark(s) of another party could result in legal action.

In this topic:

Device Phrases

How are Images Indexed?

Types of Terms (Descriptors)

Specialised Qualifying Terms

Other Special Descriptors

Heraldic Devices

Geometric Shapes in Marks

Other Specific Device

Device Phrases

The device phrase is a brief description of the device shown towards the top of the screen on when searching ATMOSS under the heading 'IMAGE'. It is merely a quick description of the trade mark and is not used for searching purposes. Device constituents are separate to the device phrase and are used for searching purposes.

These are discussed in later sections.

Conventions used in device phrases

  • The device constituent terms are generally used, but non-inverted terms are preferred. For example, 'Chinese hat' is written instead of the glossary term HAT,CHINESE. In some cases it might not be possible to avoid such awkward constructions as GLOBE,MERIDIANS in a phrase.
  • Sometimes a device will contain an element for which no glossary term exists or a specific term does not exist in the glossary. Specific terms are preferable in the device phrase whereas more general terms can be entered as a device constituent. For example, as no device constituent term exists for Aloe Vera, it is described as ALOE VERA in the phrase, while the terms PLANT and CACTUS are assigned as constituents. The specific word 'Greyhound' is used rather than DOG,GREYHOUND.
  • Abbreviations are used wherever possible. A list of standard abbreviations used in device phrases is below:











Device phrase operators

The following verbs and prepositions are conventions used in device phrases.


Zig-zag breaks double ellipse

Car breaks spanner breaks oval


Rectangle cuts satellite dish


Arrow overlaps square,extended sides


Star indents triangle


Stripes extend from 4 balls with explosion


Square atop circle beside arrowhead

Hair atop curved rectangle; or hat


Striped semi-circle below eccentric semi-circles

Curved star below arc of 5 stars


Disc beside chevron, broken


Map of Australia in globe, meridians

Face in screen


Pile of blocks or cubes between 2 worms

Words between 2 sugar cane stalks

How are Images Indexed?

Device elements are indexed or described using a pre-determined set of terms. These terms are known as device constituents. A Glossary of all the device constituents is provided.

Generally, the number of terms used to describe a device is around six. This is a rough guide to keep the searching of devices as simple as possible. However, where it is warranted, the number of terms may exceed six. There are some circumstances where it is not advisable to put an arbitrary limit on constituents, for example, some series marks or marks with multiple distinctive elements, people or objects.

The following are general considerations used when indexing trade marks in order to keep the number of constituents to six per record if possible. Generally, it is important to avoid overlap in concepts, and terms which are not useful in searching. Also, these considerations are not absolute rules and are applied on a case by case basis.

Geometric Borders

Simple shapes such as circles, ellipses and frames are omitted where they act merely as a 'carrier' for significant device elements in the trade mark. Geometric shapes are usually only indexed where they are an integral part of the whole trade mark, or where the trade mark consists of only one letter and a simple device.

Conventional decorative elements

(a) as borders

Where decorative elements form a frame or border around significant figures or scenes they are generally not indexed, for example, leaves, arabesques, medals, scrolls. The borders in themselves are not distinctive when the trade mark as a whole is considered.

(b) as minor details in a scene

Minor elements that are included in a trade mark in a decorative fashion are also generally not indexed. Examples of these would be shields, stars, asterisks, wreaths.

Generally it is the main 'idea' of the mark that is significant and that needs to be captured with the appropriate device constituent terms. For complex trade marks with many distinctive elements, decorative elements such as borders, scrolls and wreaths are less important. In the case of trade marks where the decorative elements are the main or only constituents, these elements will be captured.

The example below is of a complex trade mark with decorative elements surrounding the central figures which are the main feature or 'idea' of the mark










In this case only the central figures would be described in the constituents as they constitute the most distinctive part of the trade mark. The other decorative elements are secondary.

Types of Terms (Descriptors)

A glance at the Glossary of Device Constituents will show you that Glossary terms can be:

  • single word descriptions,
  • hyphenated terms, or
  • double word terms joined by a comma

Terms can be the names of objects such as KANGAROO or STICK-FIGURE, or they can be qualifying descriptors such as CARTOON or SEATED.

Device constituents do not contain spaces. This means that items like 'coat of arms', 'five point', 'Opera House' cannot be entered as separate words. They are entered as a string of words separated by hyphens.

'Comma terms' bring similar items together in the Glossary. The first part of these terms is the main feature and the second part is the qualifier. Thus all types of DOG or HAT or WHEEL are brought together. Maps are all grouped together under the common prefix MAP as in MAP,AUSTRALIA or MAP,WA.

Plurals of words are entered with a plus sign as in WAVE+ for 'waves' or FLAME+ for 'flames'.

The Glossary contains some cross referencing. However, similar terms have been grouped for ease of reference. Lists of the grouped terms are available in later sections. There are groups of terms for:


Another important grouping of similar terms involves the use of Top Level Terms. These terms are broad terms that cover a range of specific terms. For example, the top level term FRUIT would cover APPLE, RASPBERRY, LEMON, GRAPE and so on. Searching for the top level term FRUIT will return all trade marks including any of the sub-terms. Again, a list of top level terms is provided in later sections.

Using Qualifying Terms

If the device is common, qualifications are usually required in order to more accurately describe the nature of the device.

There are rules for when to use some qualifying terms. The following should be noted:
































animals/people (not sportsmen)


geometric shape






heraldic convention

INCOMPLETE is used for any unfinished figure.

IRREGULAR is used for any distorted geometric shape, STYLISED for any distorted or stylised person, animal, object or scene (see further explanation of STYLISED below.)

INTERSECTING is used for stripes, lines, but INTERLOCKING is used for whole figures such as CIRCLES, SQUARES, RECTANGLES or ELLIPSES.

In the case of INTERLOCKING words like `superimposed', `overlapping', may be used in the device phrase to give a clearer impression of the mark, but, if used as constituents, would mean that a searcher would always have to consider alternatives instead of finding all like devices under one description.

STACKED is used for figures such as diamonds, chevrons or discs which overlap in a parallel fashion.

Specialised Qualifying Terms


The device constituent STYLISED refers to highly simplified and abstract representations which are removed from the true or realistic representation of the device. It encompasses unrealistic exaggeration or distortion of features and geometrising of objects (but does not include distortion of geometric shapes themselves).

It is not used for geometric shapes, arrows, impellers, patterns. If these items are distorted, the term IRREGULAR, may be used Other terms where STYLISED would not be helpful include:





These are relatively uncommon terms, and do not require further qualification.

There are some common devices which benefit most from the use of the constituent STYLISED. These are usually living things, or maps of Australia. This allows the separation of 'true' representations from 'stylised' representations when searching the database.

Examples of the use of STYLISED











The word CARTOON means a drawing which symbolises or caricatures some subject or person in an exaggerated way. It applies mainly to animals or objects with human characteristics (for example, facial expressions, wearing clothes having arms and legs), but it can also apply to people who are caricatures. It does not apply to objects which are represented in a 'comic strip' way, and it is not used in conjunction with the term CARTOON-CHARACTER.








This is used for toys or animals where the clothes are not unusual or significant. If the clothes are significant the names of the pieces of clothing are indexed and CLOTHED is not used.


The term SILHOUETTE is defined as 'an outline drawing, uniformly filled in with black, like a shadow'. In indexing it is used for common devices depicted in outline or shaded format, sometimes with very sketchy features as in the swan below:






In the device above the outline is the important feature. It is not 'stylised'. The constituent SILHOUETTE is not used where the device is an uncommon term such as STRONGMAN.

The term SILHOUETTE is particularly useful if the device comprises just the silhouette alone.

Other Special Descriptors

DISC-HEAD is used for geometric shape people with circles or discs for heads. The heads may or may not have features, or may be a solid disc or an outline. A DISCHEAD is not indexed using PERSON and STYLISED.

STICK-FIGURE is used for people shapes made up of thin lines. Sometimes these also have DISC-HEADS

The use of Top Level Terms means that some 'very stylised' or unknown figures cannot be indexed by general terms such as PERSON, ANIMAL, BUILDING or FLOWER. If they were indexed using these general terms, the number of records retrieved would be extremely large. Special terms exist which avoid this problem:

BLOOM is used for non-specific flowers.

CREATURE is used for indeterminate animals.

STRUCTURE is used for a building where its nature is uncertain.

ALIEN may be used to describe something that resembles a human but has some strange features.

Heraldic Devices


SHIELD is used for any basic device of a shield shape. 'Shield' devices with other surrounds are either crests or coats of arms. In these cases SHIELD is not used as a constituent. A basic shield is indexed according to the significant elements it contains.

CREST is the term used for a device comprising a central shield and surmount, usually a crown or knight's helmet (or equivalent).

COAT-OF-ARMS the term reserved for a device comprising:

  • a central shield (or equivalent);
  • a surmount, and
  • supporters, usually one on either side of the shield. These often take the form of a heraldic lion or other animal but can take any form including human figures, mythical figures such as mermaids, pillars or bunches of grapes.

Other features that often appear in coats of arms or crests include scrolls, mantling and drapes.

Mantling and Drapes

These terms are both used only for heraldic devices.

MANTLING refers to a feature rather like the antlers of reindeer or very large tendrils or leaves, which extend from the crown, helmet or other surmount of a coat of arms or crest.

DRAPES are depicted as curtains, usually looped up, around the shield part of the device.

Note that ordinary room or theatre curtains are indexed as CURTAIN(+).

Geometric Shapes in Marks

Marks consisting of or containing geometric shapes are exceedingly common.

On occasion, geometric shapes may represent specific items and would be also indexed as such; e.g. HOTPLATE (spiral or zig-zag lines), BELT-DRIVE (endless-belt), HANDFAN (diverging lines), RAINBOW (arcs or semi-circles).

The following terms are used for marks which contain geometric shapes.

GEOMETRIC-SHAPES: used where there are more than two geometric shapes. The separate features are named if they would be useful in searching. They are often interlocking and form some overall figure or pattern.



A circle is circular outline. It may be white on black or black on white.


A disc is a shaded circular shape, without discernible outline.

Qualifying circles and discs

To enable useful restrictions of these large categories qualifying terms can be used. Note, the term DISC is also used in the comma term SUN,DISC and the hyphenated term DISC-HEAD. Both CIRCLES and DISCS can be described as:


Two concentric circles or discs so close together as to be almost one outline.


Three close concentric circles or discs.


Circles or discs having a common centre and a space between their circumferences sufficient to make them appear as separate figures.


Circles or discs within each other but without common centre. This term can also be used for other figures such as ellipses or ovals.


Intertwined circles or discs. If another description such as "overlapping" or "superimposed" is thought to be more informative of the get-up of the mark, it can be used in the device phrase.


A pattern of parallel lines over the surface of the circle or disc. Other descriptions such as WAVY or HORIZONTAL should also be indexed.


The figure contains several dots. These need not be an all over pattern of dots; if they are, a cross reference to PATTERN and DOTS may be required.


Used when a circle or disc is divided into equal halves.


Used when a circle or disc is divided into more than two parts,or into two unequal parts.


A disc or circle divided into four equal segments.


A disc or circle divided into segments.


Used when a circle has a "slice" cut out. The constituent SEGMENT is added


An unfinished disc or circle; i.e. the outline does not complete the figure.


The circumference of the circle is formed of dashes or is broken at two or more places.


A small piece, not a segment, is cut out of the disc or circle.


The circumference is extended to form a tangent to the disc or circle. `Tangent' is not a Glossary constituent.


A term used when a 'circle' is not a perfect circle.

Note also:


The very common feature of two concentric circles containing written material.


A three dimensional or extended circle or disc.


A half CIRCLE or DISC. This is not the same as a HALVED used with CIRCLE. The distinction is usually obvious; for example, a mark may contain three separate SEMI-CIRCLES; a HALVED CIRCLE is one figure with a dividing line across the centre.


A 'slice' or 'wedge' of a circle or disc. The term is used only when the device is rendered as a segment of a circle; otherwise it is indexed as a TRIANGLE with CONVEX-SIDE.


segment of a disc or circle which is an exact quarter. (cf also RIGHTANGLED TRIANGLE with CONVEX-SIDE)

The terms SEGMENT and QUADRANT are reserved for the parts separated from the whole.


A segment in the form of an upright INVERTED TRIANGLE with CONVEXSIDE opposite the apex. The term is also used for ice cream cones.


Part of the circumference of a circle.


Three dimensional circle sometimes an article of jewellery or a planet ring. The latter is common in trade marks and is often elliptical in shape and incomplete.


A specialised depiction of circles INTENDED to represent BUBBLES, usually diminishing in size and with 'highlights'.


ELLIPSES and OVALS follow the same rules and use the same descriptions as CIRCLES and DISCS.


A figure with a clear black or white outline;


A shaded figure usually without an outline


There are no specific terms for shaded FOUR-SIDED figures as with DISCS AND OVALS.


have a right angle in each corner and one pair of opposite sides longer than the other.


have a right angle in each corner and all sides of equal length.


are not right-angled but have opposite equal and parallel sides, one pair being longer than the other. (A rectangle pushed sideways.)


is a parallelogram with all sides of equal length. (A square pushed sideways.)


have ONE pair of parallel sides.


are irregular four-sided figures with no parallel sides.


are squares or triangles standing on one corner.


are rectangles with two rounded ends. Note the hyphen.


are solid three-dimensional figures all sides being squares.


are solid rectangular figures.


A term for rectangles on their ends which are used as the background to letters. It is not used at any other time.

Qualifying four-sided figures

Four sided figures all carry the same descriptive terms. These are indexed as separate constituents to allow elimination as well as addition for a search. Some of the descriptors are themselves hyphened terms.


One or more corners are rounded. If only one corner is rounded this is shown by use of the singular. If all four are rounded a number is not supplied; if only two or three corners are rounded this is indicated in the device phrase but not in the constituents; use of a number could limit the search in the wrong way, e.g. to two rectangles rather than rectangles with two rounded-corners.


A figure with one or more rounded ends. The above comments apply. Note that the term is not applied to rectangles. (See ENDLESS-BELTS)


One or more sides of the figure are rounded outwards. This does not apply to ENDLESS-BELTS.


One or more of the sides is rounded inwards.


One or more of the sides is curved both in and out.

CURVED by itself is used for four-sided figures with one CONVEX and one CONCAVE side.


One or more of the sides has one or more NOTCHES, or dents, usually triangular or zig-zag . See Glossary for illustration.


The end(s) of a rectangular figure are notched.


One or more corners are NOTCHED, i.e. cut off. See Glossary illustration.


A piece, or pieces, has been cut out of the shape.


The type of stripes should be added as extra constituents, for example, WAVY or OBLIQUE.


The figure has been divided into two equal halves.


The figure has been divided into more than two parts or into two unequal parts. Sometimes the division of a figure can form it into something else: e.g. a square is divided into two rectangles or a rectangle into two squares or two triangles, or a triangle into a small triangle with trapeziums.


The shapes are intertwined. No other description should be used.


The figure has not been fully joined.


The sides of the figure are dashed or broken in two or more places.

Note also:


An extended four-sided figure.


TRIANGLES are three sided figures. They follow the same rules and carry the same descriptions as those outlined above with the following additions:


One of the angles of the figure is a right angle.


The triangle is standing on its apex. Note that an inverted triangle with a curved base (now at the top) is a CONE.


One of the angles of the figure has been cut off. This essentially makes it a four-sided figure, but one end is so short it more closely resembles a triangle.

The term is used only for TRIANGLES or CONES.


A solid figure which is triangular in section all the way through like the Toblerone block. The constituent TRIANGLE is required because a prism can be other three dimensional shapes.


A solid figure with triangular sides.


Other straight-sided figures are described according to the number of sides. For example, PENTAGON (five); HEXAGON (six); SEPTAGON (seven); OCTAGON (eight); DECAGON (ten) and POLYGON (multi-sided).


The term STRIPE is used for all stripes and lines of any thickness. Hence it is a widely used term and is usually qualified

The term LINE is rarely used. Its use is for items in a line or row.

Note also some specialised terms for items composed of 'stripes' such as RAYS and SUN,RAYS, COILS, SPRINGS and SPIRALS, TRICUSPIDS (see DIVERGING), ASTERISKS, some CROSSES or MATHEMATICAL SYMBOLS.

Qualifying stripes

As with other geometric figures, descriptions of stripes are entered as separate constituents. Several descriptions may often be required to describe a figure adequately; e.g. a STRIPE may be both CURVED & HOOKED. The same descriptions are often used for arrows.

STRIPES or ARROWS can be described as:


Straight up and down. (North to South)


Straight sideways. (East to West)


Straight, at any angle off the vertical or horizontal.


With only one curve or wave.


With more than one curve or wave.


This term is used when a wavy line or stripe resembles the mathematical symbol (See also PARABOLA).


With jagged waves.


For stripes angled in any but zig-zag fashion: e.g. two stripes joined at an angle.


A straight or curved stripe with a definite hook at the end. The term HOOK should be reserved for representations of actual hooks such as coathooks or meathooks; (note use of FISHHOOK)


The stripe loops back on itself.


Any crossed stripes. No other term is used. The constituent CROSSED is reserved for things other than STRIPES or ARROWS; e.g. swords or stems.


The STRIPES diverge from a central point. A term used also of RAYS Three lines diverging at equal angles from a central point form a TRICUSPID.


The STRIPES converge to a central point

Note also:

Intertwining ZIG-ZAG or WAVY STRIPES are indexed as TWIST. (But see also SYMBOL,DNA for a specialised representation of a TWIST.)

Elaborate,decorative STRIPES are indexed as ARABESQUES

Certain types of ZIG-ZAG or WAVY LINES may also represent WAVES,ELECTRONIC or WAVES,SONIC or SINE-WAVE.

Other Specific Device


These are simply three, four or five lobed figures, such as the playing-card CLUBS symbol or a stylised clover leaf. Definite representations of clover leaves and the CLUBS symbol are indexed as such and cross reference is only required for borderline cases. QUATREFOIL and CINQUEFOILS may also resemble STYLISED BLOOMS and should also be cross indexed. This allows restriction of a search to, for example, only those STYLISED BLOOMS which are five lobed figures: BLOOM AND CINQUEFOIL.


These are continuous looped or circular figures.

SPIRAL denotes a single continuous line in the form of a WHIRLPOOL. Note that the term WHIRLPOOL is also used but only for representations of water.

SPRING is a single continuous looped line in a vertical orientation; and

COIL is a continuous looped line in a horizontal orientation.

Note also use of the words LOOPED for other types of looped STRIPES, and COILED for SNAKES or ROPES.


These are curved or curled STRIPES usually thicker at one end than the other, which form a CURL (an incomplete spiral), or WHORL (an inverted comma shape). The illustrations of CURLS, WHORLS, HOOKS and LOOPS in the Glossary will make the distinctions clear.


DROPS and FLAMES can take many of the same descriptions as CIRCLES; e.g. CONCENTRIC, ECCENTRIC, INCOMPLETE, BROKEN.


The term IMPELLER is used for any figure which denotes movement in a circle, whether clockwise or anti-clockwise.

FAN is used for the same type of figure where no movement is represented. (Ladies' fans are indexed as HANDFAN to avoid confusion)

Both are extremely common device features and are qualified according to the number of BLADES depicted. Thus a FAN or IMPELLER may be TWO-BLADE, THREEBLADE, FOUR-BLADE, FIVE-BLADE or MULTI-BLADE

There are some special terms for commonly occurring types:


a three-blade impeller giving the impression of three legs running round in a circle. The term applies correctly to the Isle of Man emblem, but can be used for quite stylised representations and is useful for limiting a search to this specific type of three-blade impeller.


Used only for TWO-BLADE IMPELLERS representing aeroplane-type propellers.

Note that in many cases IMPELLER or FAN devices are also stylised representations of other things. For example, IMPELLER or FAN and FLOWER (or BLOOM) will find only those IMPELLERS which resemble FLOWERS (or vice versa).

Common cross references for IMPELLER or FAN type devices:

BLOOM (usually qualified as STYLISED)







It is helpful and often necessary to consider the format of the blades themselves. For example, ARROWS, TRIANGLES, LEGS, HOOKS.


ARROWS are depicted with shafts. Note that ARROWS representing the weapons are cross indexed as such, thus allowing them to be searched separately, or included or excluded from an ARROWS search.

ARROWHEADS have no shafts and are a definite ARROWHEAD shape

CHEVRONS resemble a sergeant's stripes, or V-shape but can, for the sake of indexing, be in any orientation or configuration. The two legs are of equal length and the angle is usually obtuse, but need not be. Compare indexing of ANGLES, where one leg is shorter than the other, or STRIPE,ANGLED, which usually involves more than one


ARROWS can be described in the same way as STRIPES. The description CIRCULAR is used exclusively for a single ARROW which turns round on itself to form a circle.

Note also:


A circle or triangle formed by two or three arrows.


Features which are repeated to form a pattern are indexed as PATTERN and the name of the device which is repeated. PATTERNS can be all over backgrounds, or fill-in of a border or geometric shape or any other feature. The constituent PATTERN is entered separately from the descriptions to allow all marks containing ANY representation of the devices to be brought up. It is possible for example to search for DOTS, or DOTS AND PATTERN, or DOTS AND NOT PATTERN.

If the pattern is formed of common descriptive constituents, the constituent PATTERN is used with the descriptive constituent, for example, PATTERN, DOTS; PATTERN, CHEVRONS; PATTERN, OBLIQUE STRIPES; PATTERN, DIAMONDS; PATTERN, FLOWERS. Note that these are NOT comma terms and can be entered in the phrases as DOTS PATTERN, etc., depending on other wording. (Compare the use of words STRIPED or DOTTED which are not used with PATTERN).

Some descriptive constituents are used only for patterned devices. In these cases the constituent PATTERN is not used. Examples include:









Some patterns which form specific features are indexed as the features and not as the pattern. These include GRID, MESH, GRAPH.

A GRID is a plain squared background.

MESH is formed of linked squares or other features, like chicken wire fencing.

A GRAPH shows a progress line, sometimes but by no means always on a GRID background (see Glossary illustrations


The term BORDER is used for any simple PATTERNED border; the descriptive features being entered in the same way as for patterns.

THE TERM IS NOT USED FOR SIMPLE GEOMETRIC BORDERS LIKE CIRCLES OR SQUARES. In fact the constituent is only used where the border is very unusual.

The term FRAME is used ONLY FOR REPRESENTATIONS OF PICTURE FRAMES. It is not indexed where a frame is used as a border.

FRAMES can be described as ORNATE or OVAL, but need not be described at all, if they are just plain rectangles.


BADGE should be used only for emblems, crests etc actually represented as a badge.

A MEDAL is a flat piece of metal in the shape of a disc, star or cross bearing an inscription and device. It is usually pinned on a uniform and represented with a ribbon.

A MEDALLION is, by definition, a large medal. It can have a ribbon and be worn in a similar way to a PENDANT.

COINS are money coins, represented as such.

ROSETTES are the paper or fabric flower shapes worn at country shows or political rallies, with or without a ribbon.


LIONS are the most common heraldic animals, either as supporters or within the body of the mark. However, other and sometimes odd animals are also depicted. To enable them all to be brought up according to type, four specific descriptions are used:

  • RAMPANT = Standing on hind legs
  • COUCHANT = Lying down
  • SEDANT = Sitting
  • PASSANT = Walking

Thus, as they may require for any particular search, a searcher can bring up:

  • all RAMPANT creatures, or
  • all LIONS or UNICORNS, or BEARS, etc, or
  • only RAMPANT LIONS, UNICORNS or BEARS, and so on.

Ordinary, non heraldic lions, appearing in non heraldic marks are described, where a qualification is appropriate, by the usual terms for animals: STANDING, REARING, SITTING, RECLINING, RUNNING, WALKING, and so on.

There are some specific heraldic creatures worth noting: DRAGONS, WYVERNS (twolegged, winged dragon with forked snake's tail), GRIFFINS (head and wings of eagle, body of lion), DOUBLE-HEADED EAGLES (BIRD,EAGLE and DOUBLE-HEADED)


STARS are only indexed if their presence in the mark is of significance. They are qualified according to the number of points, number of stars and configuration.

The hyphened term SOUTHERN-CROSS is used for this very common device feature. It is NOT cross indexed to STARS or CONSTELLATION and is NOT entered separately for representations of the Australian flag.

PLANETS are indexed as such and there name given where possible. This includes EARTH where represented as the planet and not as a GLOBE with a MAP,WORLD.

Representations of other constellations are indexed as CONSTELLATION and the name of the constellation may be included in the Device Phrase. There are very few of these.


Any three dimensional spherical object that is not a geographic or terrestrial GLOBE is indexed as a BALL. Some descriptive qualification should always be entered unless the ball shape is featureless; in this case simple indexing as BALL cannot be avoided although it may cause difficulties for the searcher. Most balls are indexed as a COMMA term according to type, for example, BALL,BASEBALL. Other descriptions are straightforward; STRIPED, SEGMENTED, DOTTED, etc.


The term GLOBE is used for representations of terrestrial or geographic globes. A GLOBE can be depicted with lines of latitude and longitude and/or maps of all or parts of the world.

If only the lines of latitude and longitude are shown, the comma term GLOBE,MERIDIANS is used.

If only a map is shown, the term GLOBE is indexed as a separate constituent, MAPS already being comma terms in their own right. This allows ALL map marks to be brought up; or only those appearing with or without a globe; compare MAP,WORLD; MAP,WORLD AND GLOBE; MAP,WORLD AND NOT GLOBE.

If both the lines and a map are depicted, the terms GLOBE,MERIDIANS and the MAP,(description) are indexed.

If the GLOBE is shown on a stand this is also indexed separately: GLOBE or GLOBE,MERIDIANS and STAND.

A GLOBE showing only the lines of the equator and tropics of Cancer and Capricorn is indexed as GLOBE,TROPICS.

Any flattened version of a terrestrial globe should be indexed as GLOBE,PROJECTION.

Note also:

Electric light globes are indexed as BULB,ELECTRIC.


The indexing of MAPS and FLAGS is very straightforward. Both are comma terms and complete lists are in the Glossary. In each case the name of the country or state is used (with abbreviations where appropriate.

Some terms to note are:


MAP,AMERICAS when both continents are shown.

MAP,PACIFIC when the region is shown

MAP,AUSTRALASIA when both Australia and New Zealand, with or without New Guinea, are shown

FLAGS are indexed according to type as well as country. Simple, featureless square or rectangular flags are just FLAG. A long rectangular flag with notched end is a FLAG,BURGEE; a long triangular flag with a pointed end is a FLAG,PENNANT; a FLAG,BANNER usually hangs down from a horizontal pole and is often fringed.

Non-specific FLAGS are simply indexed as FLAG with separate description if relevant. Other common or well-known flags have a comma description, for example, FLAG,CHECKERED; FLAG,BLUE-PETER; FLAG,JOLLY-ROGER. Note hyphens and check the list in the Glossary.

The FLAGPOLE is only indexed if featured prominently in the mark. Otherwise its presence is taken for granted. Note that, currently the EUREKA CROSS is indexed as FLAG,EUREKA if featured as a flag on a pole but as CROSS,EUREKA, if not.


Most CROSSES are comma terms and the different types are well illustrated in the Glossary.


A comprehensive explanation of the indexing of SYMBOLS is included in the Glossary.

Common GROUPS of SYMBOLS are indexed as comma terms while specific symbols within a group have separate constituents. This allows:

  • a single specific symbol to be searched without reference to the group; e.g. PLUS; GEMINI; INFINITY; CADUCEUS; MALE; or
  • the group to be searched without naming the individual marks; e.g. SYMBOL,MATHEMATICAL; SYMBOL,MEDICAL; SYMBOL,SEX; SYMBOL,ZODIAC; SYMBOL,ELECTRIC.

Individual SYMBOLS which do not belong within a common group are indexed as comma terms with the prefix, SYMBOL; e.g. SYMBOL,KARATE; SYMBOL,PEACE; SYMBOL,PRESCRIPTION; SYMBOL,PROHIBITION.

Thus all symbols are listed together in the Glossary and the terms used may be easily consulted; also a search, if desired can be made for ANY SYMBOL (Device Prefix) along with other significant features of a composite mark.


LETTERS are only indexed as devices in certain circumstances. (If they incorporate some device they are always included in the Word Mark indexing.) Firstly, when they are rendered in such a way that they fall in the following categories:

  • ILLUMINATED (term only used for illuminated letters)

Secondly, when they are FOREIGN CHARACTERS. These are comma terms, and in most cases are indexed as a DEVICE type trade marks (with the exception of trade marks that contain Chinese characters, which are indexed as COMPOSITE type trade marks). The word FOREIGN is NOT included and all the types currently indexed are listed with examples under CHARACTER in the Glossary.

Greek characters appearing as characters and not as words are named separately; thus it is possible to search PHI or GAMMA in particular, as well as CHARACTER(S),GREEK in general.

With Asian characters, such as Chinese characters, the number of characters within the trade mark is always added, usually only from 2-10.

Trade Marks which contain Chinese characters will also have the transliteration indexed. The transliteration constituents (Hanyu Pinyin transliteration) of any Chinese characters within the trade mark will start with a T, and will look like this

Indexing Details - Word




If there is a Chinese character(s) but there is no Hanyu Pinyin transliteration there will simply be a T: NONE

Greek characters appearing as characters and not as words are named separately; thus it is possible to search PHI or GAMMA in particular, as well as CHARACTER(S),GREEK in general.