What Are Generic Trademarks?
Posted: Sep 12, 2020
The term generic trademark is commonly used to name products or services, for example, a brand of shoes is called "shoes". Generic trademarks describe the nature of a product, so no one can register them as a trademark. These marks don't qualify for any protection because they describe the nature of product.
Why Generic Terms Can't Be Trademarks
Generic terms lets quote as "computer" cannot be registered as trademark because anyone in the world has the right to use generic words to describe the products they are manufacturing or selling. Giving trademark rights to generic terms would make the English language poorer and would restrict competition. This rule applies to both the principal and the supplemental registers. Adding a dot-com(or dot-org, dot-net, etc.) suffix to a generic term isn't a possible option to transform generic terms into the trademarks. There was a case hotel booking engine "Hotels.com" tried to register its brand name as a service-mark, but the appeal got rejected because the term is generic for any online store that sells mattresses and bedding.
The strength of trademark is critically an important parameter for any entrepreneur or beginner, inventor or business introducing a product or service in the market. Goods or service trademarks, in the majority of cases, can only be applicable for trademark registration if they are distinctive. A distinctive trademark is one of a kind that distinguishes the goods or services upon which it is used from the goods or services of other competitors. A non-distinctive trademark, or descriptive trademark or generic trademark, is one that merely describes or names a characteristic or quality of the goods or services. There are prescribed five categories of distinctiveness according to trademark law. Get your brand name registration now
These categories fall according to a spectrum of distinctiveness, from most distinctive to least distinctive:
- Arbitrary Mark
An arbitrary mark might include a term or phrase or slogan which is meaningful, but the meaning in its case is different. The best example of an arbitrary mark is Apple, the company involve in manufacturing of the computer and electronics.
- Suggestive Mark
A suggestive mark implies something about the good or service. A mark in this category typically qualifies for protection without requiring a secondary meaning to the product.
The term "suggestive" means that the customer must use the image of what services or goods the company offers.
- Fanciful Mark
A fanciful mark is a term, brand name, or unique logo that is different from existing brands. This category is the easiest to access for obtaining trademark protection because it is typically doesn't compete with anything else.
- Descriptive Mark
A descriptive mark identifies more characteristics or features of a product or service quality and only serves to describe the specific qualities of the product. It should have a unique elements that qualify it for the protection under intellectual property laws or guidelines such as it must indicate meanings such as price, quantity and manner of advertising, sale generation. This means that consumers must recognize the mark and identify it with the brand name. To qualify under the descriptive mark, it should evolve the brand representation and to whom the brand represents.
- Generic Mark
A generic trademark term actually doesn't qualify for a trademark unless it includes more specific detail. One example of a generic mark is the phrase, "The grocery Shop." Offering trademark protection on something this generic would restrict all other shops that sell groceries.
To qualify a generic mark for a trademark, logo, brand name needs to describe qualities, unique characteristics, or ingredients of the product your business sells.
When applying for trademark protection or registration, it is important for the applicant to understand the differences between types of TM. If your phrase, word, symbol, or logo is not distinct, it can be difficult to qualify for legal protection so it is advised to modify your mark so that it qualifies.
A trademark helps consumers to identify the source of goods or services so that there is trademark distinctiveness. If the Consumers is not able to recognize immediately services or goods provider, it would be difficult to achieve brand loyalty. Fraudulency occurs when someone else uses a similar mark to create confusion. If neither party holds a trademark on the mark, it would be difficult to prove the owner of it. Thus, business owners should apply for trademark online as soon as possible to prevent losing the opportunity for the same.
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