The Spectrum of Trade Marks

Selecting a trade mark to represent your product or service will always be an important task, as you should ensure to make it memorable and most importantly distinctive. Alongside the latter, you should also avoid having a trade mark which conveys what your product or service is, as a descriptive trade mark holds less qualifications for protection. Therefore, a distinctive trade mark will always remain the strongest option as it will be easily registrable. It is crucial to evaluate the difference between all types of trade mark, because if your word, slogan or logo is too generic it would struggle to qualify for protection. Listed below are the five main categories of trade marks, which is worth assessing before filing an application.

i) Fanciful Trade Marks:

Starting off with the strongest end of the spectrum, we are presented with fanciful trade marks. These are made up words created for the sole purpose of being a trade mark. These neologisms have no dictionary meaning, thus trade marking them doesn’t infringe the rights of other businesses which offer a similar service. This category can easily obtain trade mark protection as it won’t compete with others and won’t become generic. Well known examples include Kodak, Pepsi, Adidas and many more.

ii) Arbitrary Trade Marks:

This category consists of words which hold a real, common meaning and in most cases remain completely unrelated to the product or service. A classic example would be Apple, as although this is an everyday word it doesn’t convey any meaning as to the products offered by the company. Once again, this a very appealing and strong form of trade mark. Although the word is common, it is not descriptive of the products, therefore doesn’t interfere with other businesses in the same sector.

iii)   Suggestive Trade Marks:

This form of trade mark is usually named after a characteristic which the product insists to offer and may sometimes require the customer to use of their imagination. A good example would be Jaguar, as the trade mark doesn’t convey a car manufacturer, however, would suggest fast speed. A suggestive trade mark is in the middle of the spectrum, so depending on the circumstances could qualify for protection.

iv) Descriptive Trade Marks:

Now we come down to the list of trade marks you might perhaps think of avoiding. A descriptive trade mark is one which outlines the function of the product or service. An example of this would be British Airways. This fully outlines the service provided and being granted protection would be a difficult task, if you’re not well established. The descriptiveness prevents other businesses from offering their service with a similar name.

v) Generic Trade Marks:

Lastly, the weakest form of a trade mark is the generic trade mark. This form of trade mark always struggles to receive any form of protection, as they are simply a general description of the product or service, for example Chapstick. Offering protection over the product or service with a generic trade mark would prevent others from using it. Therefore, it would really struggle to receive any form of protection unless there is more specificity.

If you have and queries about the above topic or any other matter, please do not hesitate to contact the Lawdit team today.

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