A brand name is a trademark, and it must, like other trademarks, be registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). That’s correct, just because you’ve been using your brand name for years and believe everyone knows what it means doesn’t mean it’s legally protected. In truth, certain brand names and trademark register services are not protectable at all since they do not match specific requirements established by the USPTO for awarding such protection. We’ll go over these categories below to show you what they look like (and whether or not they’re protectable):
Fanciful or coined marks are terms that have been made up. They are not in the dictionary and can be any term, but they must be unique. Apple, Google, and Kodak are all examples of imaginative trademarks. While these names may appear to be goofy brand names now, they stood out as distinctive at the time they were developed since there was nothing else out there that was similar to them. If a company generates a name that is not often used, this is regarded one of the most powerful sorts of trademark since it creates something completely unique from everything else on the market (or on its way).
Fanciful marks are simple to defend since they aren’t descriptive of your product or service; in fact, if you choose an arbitrary term rather than something specific like “Computer Repair,” there’s little chance someone would mix your product with another. In truth, many businesses use random names in order to convey something abstract, such as “Change” or “Adventure.”
Arbitrary marks are ones that have no logical link to the items or services they are associated with. Fanciful words, devised words, and coined words are examples. Arbitrary marks can also refer to descriptive names that do not define a product or service in and of itself (e.g., “Tropicana”) or suggestive terms that hint some feature of a product or service (e.g., “Happy Hour”). While arbitrary marks are not always protected as trademarks because they are too generic for the public to associate them with a single company, many businesses still use them as part of their marketing strategy because consumers are often perplexed about whether there is a connection between the mark and the product or service when searching for information online.
Suggestive markings do not precisely describe the goods or services, but rather hint to them. Apple is a suggestive mark for computers, Google for search engines, Nike for shoes, and Starbucks for coffee. Courts will assess how a word or phrase would be perceived by an ordinary customer when evaluating whether it is descriptive or just indicates something else.
An example of this problem was when an Internet service provider (ISP) called itself “Broadband.” The court determined that the term “broadband” was only descriptive since customers would readily conclude that it referred to high-speed Internet connection rather than any other form of transmission capacity.
Descriptive trademarks are those that describe a feature of a product or service. “Apple” for computers and “Gatorade” for sports drinks are two examples. Descriptive marks may be extremely valuable in marketing since they help buyers identify exactly what they want to buy; nevertheless, they do not always have trademark protection because they may be too general for the public to associate with a single brand. Another example is a firm that dubbed their product “Meat Snacks.” The court determined that this was only descriptive since customers would naturally conclude that they were simply meat nibbles rather than any other form of food. Words or phrases that define the product or service you provide are known as descriptive marks. They are relatively simple to secure because they are already in general use and will not confuse your potential consumers. A descriptive mark, like a trademark, must be distinct and not confusingly similar to other marks already registered with the USPTO. For example, if your company sells computers, “Computer Store” would be an acceptable brand name because it adequately describes what you do—but if another computer store wanted to use the same name, it could confuse customers who believe both stores offer the same products and services at competitive prices…
The most frequent sort of trademark is a descriptive mark. They do not have to be one-of-a-kind or original, but they must explain a quality, feature, function, ingredient, purpose, or application of your goods/services.
Adidas (shoes), Kodak (photographic film), and Xerox are among examples (photocopiers). The names of the companies themselves tell you what they do – this is their “mark.” It is not essential to register descriptive marks with government agencies such as the USPTO; registration is not required for a descriptive mark to be protected under trademark law.
The USPTO classifies trademarks into many categories.
A trademark can be divided into five categories. These are the categories:
Fanciful – A made-up term that does not define the product or service and is not a legitimate word.
Apple and Chrysler are two examples.
Arbitrary – It has no bearing on the sort of goods or service provided.
Apple and Chrysler are two examples.
Suggestive – Indicates the sort of goods or service being provided.
Apple and Chrysler are two examples. (Apple implies that they manufacture computers)
Descriptive – Describes the key features of the provided product or service. Apple and Chrysler are two examples. (Apple is a computer manufacturer.) A generic term is one that applies to every single product or service in your industry.
When it comes to trademarks, your brand should be a fanciful or arbitrary mark in order to be eligible for US trademark registration . If you want to be specific about what your product or service performs, you may be descriptive.