The brands that preceded Mercedes-Benz initially used trademarks that were based on the company names. By way of example, a DMG design for a trademark from 1897 shows an engine with the name "Daimler" arching above it and, hovering above this, the mythical phoenix. In addition to this, a car, a motorboat and an airship symbolise the use of the internal combustion engine on land, at sea and in the air.
In a similar vein, albeit with a far more sober design, there is a DMG advertisement from the 1890s, which the emerging company used to recruit representatives: the name "Daimler" hovers over the entire motif, the second "O" in the German word "Motoren" depicting the rising sun. Later, at the start of World War I, DMG advertised its trucks using the stylised signature of Gottlieb Daimler on a globe.
It is only logical that Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft applied to the Imperial Patent Office to have the valuable name of the brand's founder registered as a trademark on 29 September 1899. The name was actually entered on the Trademark Register as early as 4 December of the same year. But the abbreviation DMG as a calligraphy was also registered as a trademark alongside the name Daimler.
Whether it was Daimler or DMG, the passenger cars made in Cannstatt soon had a new brand name in any case as, in April 1900, DMG reached an agreement with Emil Jellinek for the supply of innovative cars and engines. At the time, Jellinek was the largest dealer for DMG vehicles, with contacts in the very highest echelons of society. The pseudonym "Mercédès", under which Jellinek entered car races, was to become the brand name for these Daimler products. This name was inspired by the Austrian businessman's daughter, Mercédès Jellinek, who was born in Vienna in 1889.
In December 1900, DMG delivered the first Mercedes 35 PS to Jellinek. Notching up a whole series of victories at the "Nice Speed Week" races in France, the car set standards for automotive development throughout Europe. "Nous sommes entrés dans l'ère Mercédès" ("We have entered the Mercedes era"), wrote Paul Meyan, General Secretary of the French Automobile Club in spring 1901, alluding to the dominance of the cars from Cannstatt.
Following on from this success, the new brand name quickly established itself in the public perception of Daimler passenger cars. On 23 June 1902, DMG applied to have the name "Mércèdes" registered as a trademark, the brand becoming protected by law on 26 September of the same year. And the arched "Mercedes" lettering became the new trademark on the radiators of the DMG passenger cars.