Every trademark is not created equally. Some trademarks are stronger or have more protection than others. In fact, trademark attorneys generally analyze trademarks on a 5-step continuum that includes coined, arbitrary, suggestive, descriptive, or generic wording. A coined mark is the strongest mark because it requires creativity to come up with the mark. It’s basically a creative illustration of a mark that has no other meaning in regular language other than trademark significance.
Examples of coined mark are famous marks like Xerox for copy machines and Exxon for gasoline. An arbitrary mark represents the next level of strength for a trademark. Arbitrary marks include wording that has a recognized meaning, but the meaning is not relevant for the claimed goods and/or services. In essence, the wording is arbitrary as applied to the goods/services.
An example of an arbitrary mark is Apple for computers. Suggestive marks are next on the continuum. These marks suggest rather than describe the qualities or characteristics of the underlying goods and/or services. Suggestive trademarks require the public to use their imagination, perception and thought to create an association with the goods and/or services.
Examples of suggestive marks are Microsoft for computers or Greyhound for transportation services. Up next are descriptive marks. Descriptive marks merely describe a significant feature or characteristic of the claimed goods or services. An Examples of a descriptive mark may be Cold and Creamy for ice cream. The worst trademark to select would be a generic mark. This type of mark describes the genus of the goods and/or services claimed.
Examples of generic marks might be Wood for furniture, or Brick for building supplies. Marks are analyzed and/or provided refusals based upon their placement on the continuum.
If you have questions about the analysis of your proposed trademark and need legal assistant with the analysis, please contact one of the attorneys on TrademarkPassport.com for assistance.