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Trademarks: Selecting a Trademark

Guide to understanding what a trademark is, the different types of trademarks, searching for United States registered trademarks and how to apply for one

Selecting a Trademark

  • This best trademark to choose is one that is "inherently distinct" and will not be confused with another existing trademark for a similar product or service line.
  • Strong Trademarks describes types of trademarks from strongest to weakest, i.e., those having the best chance of being registered by the USPTO to those that will be automatically refused.

  • Fanciful are invented words such as Kleenex, Kodak or Xerox
  • Arbitrary are existing vocabulary used in an arbitrary way such as Apple (computers) or Diesel (fashion label)
  • Suggestive connote a characteristic of the product such as Coppertone for suntan lotion
  • Descriptive merely describe how a product is, example, "creamy whip" for a whipped topping
  • Generic merely signify what a product is such as "dog food" or "milk"