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US Patent and Trademark Office advice on hiring a Trademark Attorney

August 15, 2018

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Trademark Distinctiveness

September 7, 2017


Under US Trademark Law, trademarks are considered “source identifiers” and as such should identify the source of the goods/services but not the nature of the goods/services. Terms which identify the nature of the goods/services by describing the goods/services or are generic and immediately name the goods/services are not eligible for registration. Trademarks should be unique and creative in nature, at most suggesting the nature of the goods/services but ideally be imaginative and unrelated.


Types of Marks
We strongly urge clients to invest the time and creativity in developing fanciful marks. These marks are the most distinctive, most easily registered and most easily protected from infringement. Fanciful marks are marks incorporating invented words and terms. Examples include Xerox, Kleenex, Microsoft, Kodak, Google, Exxon, Tesla, etc. 
Also preferable are arbitrary marks which use existing words and terms for branding unrelated products/service. Examples include, Apple, Ivory, Amazon, Dove, Walmart, Secret, etc.  
Least desirable but still registerable are suggestive marks which use existing words and terms implying association with the goods/services. These marks are more difficult to have registered and often face office action. Examples include 7-Eleven, Coppertone, Degree, etc.  


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