What Makes a Trademark Strong?

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Intellectual Property Protection

What Makes a Trademark Strong?

A trademark is word, phrase, symbol, design or a combination of words, phrases, symbols or designs that operate as a source identifier of the goods or services offered under the mark. A strong word mark will contain a distinctive word or words that are arbitrary or fanciful words, i.e., APPLE for computers or XEROX for office equipment. Suggestive words can also make for strong and successful marks that suggest rather than describe the goods or services under the mark, i.e., COPPERTONE for tanning lotion or GREYHOUND for bus services). Descriptive marks are not inherently distinctive but are capable of acquiring distinctiveness, and thus, trademark protection. A descriptive mark that has acquired secondary meaning in the marketplace – that is recognized by consumers as a brand is potentially capable of being protected. Businesses also tend to have more difficulty protecting a descriptive mark as such marks contain a commonly used word or words, and thus, the mark is difficult to make distinctive, i.e., INNOVATIVE SOLUTIONS for consultation services in the field of software.  

 Descriptive -----> Suggestive -----> Arbitrary -----> Fanciful
The Trademark Scale of Distinctiveness

Thus, in creating and selecting a strong mark, consider a word or words that are at least suggestive on the scale of distinctiveness displayed above.

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