Kellogg’s Trademarks

The Kellogg Company is a multinational American food manufacturing company known for its cereal and convenience foods. Doing business as “Kellogg’s”, they are based in Battle Creek, Michigan where they first started.

Kellogg’s began in the late 1800s when two brothers, Dr. John Harvey Kellogg, and Will K. Kellogg worked to improve the nutrition and quality of the vegetarian diet at the world-famous health resort, Battle Creek Sanitarium in Michigan. It was the accidental burning of wheat that led to the discovery of wheat flakes. The viability of the product caused a disagreement with the brothers, leading W.K. Kellogg to go and start his own company in 1906.

After operating under several names, it was renamed the Kellogg Company in 1922, selling toasted corn flakes. Cereal was their focus with the release of several different types up until the 60s and 70s when they diversified their product line by slowly purchasing smaller companies. They were also the first business to put a prize in their boxes of cereal as a marketing incentive in the 40s. 

Following a loss of market share in 1983, the company chose to focus on the health benefits of its products, released convenience foods, and introduced new trademarked brands such as Nutri-Grain, Crispix, and Raisin Squares. This saw the cereal market expand three times faster than the rest of the grocery industry.

The cereal company bought several big brands during the 2000s and 2010s including Pringles, Cheez-It, Eggo, and many more. Kellogg’s is now the largest cereal company in the world, manufactured and marketed in over 180 countries. They are most well-known for their cereals, Corn Flakes, Rice Krispies, and Frosted Flakes. 

Famous Kellogg’s trademarks

As the biggest cereal company in the world that’s been operating since the early 1900s, Kellogg’s has a huge number of products released and trademarked under its name. They’ve also bought and sold multiple other trademarked businesses. As a result, it’s no wonder that they have 257 trademarks registered with USPTO. Let’s take a look at some of their most famous trademarks, registered by Kellogg North America Company. 

Kellogg’s logo

The Kellogg’s logo has remained largely unchanged since it was created in 1906. The logo is incredibly simple and the first trademarked version is described as “the facsimile surname signature of Will K. Kellogg, president of the applicant corporation.” The letters of the handwritten signature are tilted to the right and connected with the “K” being slightly separate. 

The cereal creator’s signature has been used throughout and has only been updated to be in red rather than black (1907), and made slightly cleaner (1955 and 2011). The first version of this logo was filed for a trademark in 1914, and registered in 1921. It has been updated over the years and covers:

  • Cereal breakfast foods
  • Candies and confections
  • Flaked cereal foods
  • Stands in the nature of receptacles for displaying merchandise
  • Display racks
  • Corn flake crumbs
  • Preparation of advertising for others
  • Fruit preserve filled pastry bakery product

Snap Crackle Pop

“Rice Krispies” was the first cereal name that Kellogg’s trademarked in 1928, which is interesting as it was their third cereal release (after Cornflakes and Bran Flakes). In the 1930s, Kellogg’s introduced mascots for their cereals to help advertise them. The first mascots were for Rice Krispies, featuring three elves named Snap, Crackle, and Pop. These names refer to the sound the toasted rice cereal makes when milk is added. This started a trend for Kellogg’s, releasing mascots with their major cereal brands. The illustration of the elves was registered for a trademark in 1952 and covers:

  • Cereal breakfast foods
  • Cereal-derived food products to be used as a breakfast food, snack food, or ingredient for making food
  • Breakfast cereals; ready to eat cereal derived food bars, cereal-based snack foods; confections, namely, candy


Perhaps Kellogg’s most famous cereal mascot, Tony the Tiger was used to advertise their brand of Frosted Flakes cereal. The cartoon tiger who wears a red bandana around his neck first debuted in 1952. He has been used on the brand’s packaging as well as in advertising campaigns, including television adverts. He was designed by former Disney animators, who also designed the Snap, Crackle, and Pop mascots. 

There have been several trademark disputes over the Tony the Tiger trademark. A top oil company, Esso (now ExxonMobil) used a similar tiger to promote their gasoline products and had the slogan, “Put a tiger in your tank”. As Kellogg’s trademark covered food products, this was fine and both co-existed until 1992 when ExxonMobil opened convenience stores, “Tiger Marts”, selling foods and beverages and failed to expand their trademark to cover this new sector. Kellogg’s filed a lawsuit. After years in court, millions of dollars spent, and different rulings, the two parties settled the case. 

Kellogg’s also raised red flags with trademark registrations in 1988 when the South Korean Summer Olympics used a similar tiger mascot for the games. It caused much controversy at the time. 

The illustration for “Tony” was trademarked in 1981 after being filed for in 1979. It applies to:

  • Cereal-derived food products to be used as a breakfast food; snack food or ingredient for making the confection
  • Clothing, namely, golf shirts, polo shirts, sports shirts, T-shirts, sweatshirts, nightshirts, sweaters, jackets, shorts, caps, stocking hats, and scarves


Tony the Tiger’s catchphrase to help promote Frosted Flakes was “They’re Gr-r-reat!”. Not only is this helping to promote the cereal but plays on a tiger’s growl – “grrr”. This catchphrase was first used by the mascot in 1955 in an advert in a national magazine. The trademark was registered in 1985 and covers:

  • Cereal-derived food products to be used as a breakfast food, snack food, or ingredient for making food
  • Decorative magnets 
  • Beverageware 
  • Shirts

Related: Trademarking a mascot


The Kellogg Company bought Eggo in 1968 as part of their efforts to diversify during the 60s and 70s. Eggo waffles were invented by Frank Dorsa in 1953 who found a way to cook, freeze, and package waffles for consumers. They also released Eggo potato chips and Eggo syrup. Kellogg’s advertised Eggo products using the now-popular phrase “L’eggo my Eggo”. As “L’eggo” sounds similar to “LEGO”, Kellogg’s collaborated with The Lego Group to produce LEGO brick-shaped waffles. Kellogg’s trademarked the “Eggo” wordmark in 1960 and it applies to:

  • Prepared batter and flour for waffles, biscuits, pancakes, muffins, cakes, and doughnuts; frozen waffles; potato chips; mayonnaise; pickles; relishes; mustard; horse radish; salad dressings; salad oils; canned tuna; table syrups; gelatine desserts; canned and bottled tomato products-namely, tomato catsup, tomato paste and puree; sandwich spreads; jams; jellies; barbecue sauce and soup base
  • Waffles, pancakes, french toast sticks, table syrup, cinnamon rolls 

“K” logo

In 1984, Kellogg’s trademarked just the “K” of their logo – looking exactly how it does in the full logo. It’s primarily used on snack and convenience food, suggesting that the “K” was used so that they didn’t need to take up space with the full logo, while still being recognizable as the Kellogg brand. This “K” logo was then used as part of other branded products such as “Special K”. The “K” logo has been updated throughout the years to now cover:

  • Publications and printed matter-namely, booklets, pamphlets, leaflets, and brochures concerning the company’s products
  • Cereal-derived food products to be used as a breakfast food, snack food, or ingredient for making food
  • Protein-based, nutrient-dense snack bars
  • Meal replacement bars; protein-enriched water; protein-enriched powdered water mixes
  • Drinking waters; flavored water powders for making flavored water drinks

Wrapping up

Kellogg’s is the largest cereal manufacturer in the world and has been creating cereals since 1906. They’ve also been acquiring several other cereal, snack, and convenience food brands since the 60s, meaning they have a lot of trademarks and brands to their name. To date, the cereal company has registered a whopping 257 trademarks. 

Their trademarks include brand names, logos, cereal mascots, advertising slogans, incentive programs, and charitable arms. Being such a big company, it’s no surprise that Kellogg’s has been thorough in trademarking its assets with USPTO and has actually protected them in several legal battles – most notably with their Tony the Tiger image. Protecting IP and assets by registering them as trademarks can save millions of dollars, time, and headaches. As a company that’s worth $22.54 billion, it’s worth ensuring they’re fully protected. 

See more famous trademarks here.

Xavier Morales, Esq.

About the Author:

Xavier Morales, Esq.

Mr. Morales founded this trademark law practice in January 2007 with the goal of providing intellectual property expertise to entrepreneurs and businesses around the country. Since then, he has filed more than 6,000 trademarks with the USPTO. You can learn more about Xavier here.

Protect Your Mark

Get the national trademark protection you need for your business name, logo, or slogan.

Or call us today


You'll Speak directly with our founding attorney


Law Office of Xavier Morales
P.O. BOX 3256
Austin, TX 78764

office: 1-866-618-2517
fax: 1-866-639-4889