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  • Writer's pictureDEBORAH MORTIMER

How Strong is Your Brand ?

Updated: Jul 9

How to Choose a Strong Trademark for Your Brand

If creating top-notch products and exceptional services is the foremost aim of every entrepreneur, then marketing undoubtedly takes the second spot. In today's fiercely competitive market, establishing a robust brand identity is essential for any business's marketing strategy. Without a strong, distinct, and recognizable brand, your premier products and stellar services will merely get lost in the shuffle, an echo in an empty room.

McDonald's. Apple. Exxon. GAP. These are all powerful and well-known brands that, when seen or heard, instantly bring to mind the products or services they are associated with. A well-chosen trademark not only distinguishes your products and services from those of your competitors but also plays an essential role in building brand loyalty and recognition. It is a symbol that your customers associate with your company, its values, and the quality of its products or services.


A compelling trademark can:

- Enhance brand recognition and loyalty

- Provide legal protection against infringement

- Add value to your business

- Facilitate marketing and branding efforts

However, not all trademarks are created equal. The strength and protectability of a trademark depend largely on its distinctiveness. The more distinct the brand, the stronger the trademark. So, what are the different levels of brand distinction? How can you choose the right brand name? And if you're already in business, where does your brand fall on the spectrum of distinction?

 Let’s delve into the different levels of trademark distinction.

Fanciful Trademarks

These trademarks are completely made-up or coined terms that have no meaning outside their use as a trademark.

- Example: "Kodak" for cameras and film or "Rolex" for watches.

- Strength: Very High. Fanciful trademarks are highly distinctive and provide the strongest level of legal protection.

Arbitrary Trademarks

These are words or symbols that have no direct connection to the products or services they represent.

- Example: "Apple" for computers and electronics.

- Strength: High. Arbitrary trademarks are inherently distinctive and offer strong legal protection.

Suggestive Trademarks

Suggestive trademarks hint at or suggest the nature or a characteristic of the products or services without directly describing them.

- Example: "Netflix" for streaming services (a clever combination of "internet" and "flicks").

- Strength: Moderate to High. Suggestive trademarks are distinctive and offer good legal protection, though not as strong as arbitrary or fanciful marks.

Descriptive Trademarks

Descriptive trademarks directly describe a feature, quality, or characteristic of the products or services.

- Example: "Cold and Creamy" for ice cream.

- Strength: Low. Descriptive trademarks are not inherently distinctive and are more challenging to protect unless they have acquired secondary meaning through extensive use and recognition.


Generic Terms

Generic terms are common words or phrases that refer to the general category or class of products or services.

- Example: "Bicycle" or “Bike” for bicycles.

- Strength: None. Generic terms cannot be protected as trademarks because they are too common and do not distinguish the brand from others in the market.


Other generic terms were once distinctive trademarks, but because they have been so overused, the brand has become synonymous with the product/service—or vice versa. Think: Elevator, Band-Aid, or Aspirin. These were all trademarked brands that have now become generic terms.


Tips for Choosing a Strong Trademark

1. Aim for Distinctiveness: Choose a trademark that is fanciful, arbitraryor suggestive. These types of marks are more likely to be granted protection and are easier to defend against infringement.

2. Avoid Descriptive and Generic Terms: Descriptive trademarks can be challenging to register and protect, while generic terms cannot be trademarked at all.

3. Conduct a Thorough Search: Before finalizing your trademark, conduct a comprehensive search to ensure that it is not already in use by another company, whether the company’s brand is a registered trademark or not. Remember, the standard isn’t whether your brand is exactly the same as another brand, but whether it is 'the same or similar offering the same or similar products/services.' Furthermore, protection doesn’t depend on who filed an application first, but on who used the brand first. Therefore, conducting a proper search can help you avoid potential legal disputes. You can read more about state trademarks and common law rights here.

4. Consider Future Expansion: Choose a trademark that can grow with your business and is not limiting to a specific product or service.

5. Consult an Attorney: Working with an experienced trademark attorney can help you navigate the complexities of trademark registration and ensure that your brand is well-protected.


How We Can Help

At Mortimer Legal, PLLC, we specialize in trademark registration, enforcement, and maintenance. We can assist you in selecting a strong trademark, conducting a thorough search, and navigating the registration process. We are committed to protecting your brand and helping you achieve long-term success.


Contact us us today to learn more about our services and how we can help you choose and protect a strong trademark for your brand. Your brand's identity is one of your most valuable assets—let us help you safeguard it.

14 views2 comments



Tamika Charles
Tamika Charles
5 days ago

Wow, having these various examples helps me change my mindset while choosing the name for my next business. This illustration truly helps, thanks!


5 days ago

Awesome read!

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