TEST YOUR TRADEMARK : Which of the following best characterizes your proposed Trademark?
A generic trademark is a common name for a product or service. For example, "Ivory" would be generic when used to describe a product made from tusks of elephants. Likewise, "conferencecall.com" is a generic mark when used in connection with teleconferencing communications services.
A term is descriptive if it conveys an immediate idea of the ingredients, qualities or characteristics of the goods or services. More specifically, descriptive marks are those that contain words or terms that merely describe the intended purpose, function, quality, size, ingredients, characteristics, class of users, or intended effect on the user of the goods or services they identify. Descriptive Marks also include trademarks that primarily describe the geographical origin of the goods or services, a person's surname, and laudatory phrases, such as the "the best", "the greatest", "fastest", etc. For example, "TASTY" for bread, "TRIM" for nail clippers, and "CAR FRESHENER" for deodorizer would all fall into the descriptive category of terms. Likewise, "COASTER-CARDS" is descriptive of post cards that are suitable for use as coasters because "Coaster-Cards" describes the manner in which the product will be used by the purchaser.
Suggestive trademarks contain words or terms that suggest some of the qualities of the good or service but do not directly describe them. Suggestive marks are one step removed from descriptive marks in that suggestive marks require that the consumer use a measure of imagination, thought and perception to understand the essential characteristics of the good or service offered in connection with the trademark.
Arbitrary trademarks are words having a common meaning but no connection in association with the user's goods or services. "APPLE" for computer devices is an arbitrary mark. When used in connection with apples (the fruit) the term would be generic, when applied to a fruit grower the term would be descriptive, but when used in connection with a good or service wholly unrelated to the fruit, such as computers, the term would fall into the arbitrary category of marks.
Fanciful marks are "words" which have been invented for the sole purpose of functioning as a trademark and have no other meaning than acting as a mark. Examples include: XEROX, KLEENEX, KODAK, STARBUCKS, VERIZON, EXXON, and SINGULAR.
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