Skip to Content

What is Target’s trademark?

Target Corporation, commonly known as Target, is one of the largest retailers in the United States. With over 1,900 stores across the country, Target is well-known for its signature bullseye logo and its trendy, yet affordable merchandise.

What is a trademark?

A trademark refers to any word, phrase, symbol, design or a combination of these elements that identifies and distinguishes the goods and services of one company from those of other companies. It functions as a source identifier and quality guarantee for consumers. Trademarks allow companies to build recognition, reputation and brand loyalty.

For a trademark to be valid, it must be distinctive and not confusingly similar to existing trademarks. Trademark rights arise through actual use of the mark in commerce and can be registered at national, state and even international levels to strengthen legal protection.

History of Target’s Bullseye Trademark

The bullseye trademark has been associated with Target since its founding in 1902. Originally named Goodfellow Dry Goods, the store was renamed Target in 1962 ahead of its national expansion. The new name was selected to reflect the “target market” of younger, trend-driven shoppers that the retailer aimed to serve.

Target debuted its iconic bullseye logo in 1968. According to the company, the bullseye represents Target being a retail destination – a place for shoppers to aim for all their needs. The center dot symbolizes the acute accuracy needed in distribution and operations to meet guests’ expectations.

The original bullseye design had three outer rings and two inner rings, all using the three primary colors of the Target brand – red, yellow and blue. Over the years, the logo has been periodically updated with tweaks to the number of rings and hues used:

  • 1979 – Switched to a two-ringed bullseye logo.
  • 2004 – Removed yellow from the logo, retaining just red and blue.
  • 2018 – Refreshed logo with a simpler one-ring design in red.

While the look has evolved, the bullseye has remained an iconic element of the Target identity for over 50 years.

Target’s Brand Trademarks

Beyond the name Target and bullseye logo, the retailer has also trademarked other brand elements and exclusive product lines, including:

  • Slogans like “Expect More, Pay Less” and “Target Run”
  • Sub-brands such as Archer Farms, Market Pantry, Threshold, and more
  • Initiatives like Bullseye’s Playground and Bullseye’s Corner
  • Partnerships like Target Open House and Target + Studio One

Securing trademarks for these brand assets prevents competitors from copying or diluting Target’s well-established identity. It also allows Target to license its brands for various merchandise and promotions.

Importance of Target’s Trademarks

For Target, trademarks are invaluable intangible assets that:

  • Reinforce brand positioning – Bullseye logo immediately conveys Target as a stylish, affordable general retailer.
  • Symbolize quality and experience – Products with Target name/logo set clear consumer expectations.
  • Build brand loyalty – Exclusive brands like Cat & Jack engender preference for Target.
  • Drive marketing – Slogans like “Target Run” feature heavily in ad campaigns.
  • Generate revenue – Licensed merchandise expands brand exposure and sales.

Strong trademarks also give Target legal grounds to protect its brand equity from infringement by other parties. Overall, Target’s trademarks enable it to influence shopper perceptions, connect emotionally with consumers, and compete effectively – all contributing to its position as one of the top retail chains in America.

Target’s Trademark Enforcement

To protect the value of its trademarks, Target actively monitors and enforces its intellectual property rights. Some key ways Target combats infringement include:

  • Registration – Federally registering major trademarks and regularly renewing those registrations.
  • Litigation – Filing lawsuits against third-party infringers to halt unauthorized use.
  • Customs enforcement – Working with U.S. Customs to seize imported counterfeit goods.
  • Domain monitoring – Contesting domain names using Target IP through ICANN disputes.
  • Cease-and-desist letters – Sending warnings to infringers demanding they stop misuse of Target’s IP.

By actively protecting its brand identity through trademarks, Target can maintain control over how its brand is used in the marketplace. This allows the retailer to shape the consumer experience with Target and safeguard brand reputation.

Target’s Most Notable Trademark Lawsuits

Over the decades, Target has filed lawsuits against many parties for infringing on its trademarks. Some high-profile cases have included:

Defendant Trademark Issue Resolution
Target Toss Producst LLC Misuse of Target name Changed name to Toss Products LLC after lawsuit filed in 2003
Target Credit Card Services Misuse of Target name Agreed to stop using Target trademarks after lawsuit filed in 2006
Target Area Rug Misuse of Target name Changed name to Rug Target after lawsuit filed in 2008

In addition to retailers using similar names, Target also actively pursues those who infringe on its bullseye logo and other brand trademarks. These legal efforts demonstrate Target’s investment in protecting its brand image and trademarks from misuse.


For over 50 years, Target’s bullseye logo has served as an iconic representation of the retailer’s brand and values. Alongside other important trademarks like its name and exclusive brands, the bullseye is invaluable intellectual property for Target. Trademark protection and enforcement enables Target to control use of its IP, shape brand perceptions, and foster meaningful connections with customers. Robust trademark vigilance has allowed Target to become one of America’s most recognizable and beloved retail chains, cementing its place in shoppers’ hearts and wallets for years to come.