A trademark cannot be registered unless it is distinctive. Distinctiveness is determined by evaluating whether the trademark is: descriptive, generic, suggestive or arbitrary.
If a trademark is determined to be descriptive or generic than it is not distinctive and cannot be registered.
A descriptive trademark can sometimes be registered if it has acquired a secondary meaning. A trademark acquires a secondary meaning when the trademark has become generally recognized by the marketplace as corresponding to a product or service. Generic trademarks can never be registered.
Trademarks that are suggestive or arbitrary are distinctive and can be registered. However, if they become generic or descriptive, they may lose their status as distinctive:
The deadlines and requirements for trademark registration are complicated and strict. An experienced trademark attorney can help you meet all the deadlines and fulfill all the requirements. A trademark lawyer can also participate in on-going research to make certain no one else is using or diluting your trademark without your permission. Distinctiveness is also a requirement for federal registration. This means that the mark must be able to identify the source of your goods.
Last Modified: 01-29-2013 03:20 PM PSTLaw Library Disclaimer
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