That’s rightâ€” the term QR Code® is a registered trademark. While many in the industry have been using QR Code® as a generic term, it is a registered trademark of DENSO WAVE INCORPORATED. Please note that the trademark only refers to the term, not the technology. The technology is, in fact, open source.
Denso Wave, Inc. recently sent the following letter to a client of mine:
In case you are not aware, the term QR Code® is a registered trademark of DENSO WAVE INCORPORATED within the U.S., Japan, Australia and Europe.
We would appreciate your cooperation in making sure all future references of QR Code® within your [publication/website] include the registered trademark symbol (®) after the term â€œQR Codeâ€ and the following text is placed somewhere on the same page as the term:
* QR Code is a registered trademark of DENSO WAVE INCORPORATED.
Please note, a registered trademark is not required when publishing the QR Code® image. It is only required for the words QR Code®.
I have enclosed a copy of the DENSO WAVE INCORPORATED QR Code® Trademark Guide for more detailed information regarding the trademark of QR Code®. In addition, you can find information at: http://www.denso-wave.com/qrcode/faqpatent-e.html.
Personally, I see absolutely nothing wrong with this request. They came up with the term, trademarked it, and deserve the credit and attribution that comes with the mark. The purpose of this article is merely to inform printers, mailers, MSPs, and others of the trademark, and hopefully, save someone from a potential headache down the road.
I also discussed this with a patent and trademark attorney, and just to let you know, playing with capitalization, adding an “s,” etc., does not exempt you from using the trademark. The bottom line is that if you are going to use the term, it would behoove you to give proper attribution.
*QR Code is a registered trademark of DENSO WAVE INCORPORATED.