The “common” problem with trademarks

 

In many cases, business owners may need to use common words or phrases to name their company or brand. One of the disadvantages of this is that they may be unable to get a trademark registration for their brand or company name. The reality, however, is that there are many instances wherein companies have been awarded trademarks for their use of common phrases or words in their branding.

Even by simple examination of the most popular brands today, it is easy to see that many names are not unique to a particular company, brand, or industry. Many companies have names or brands which are actually common words but they did not run into much inconvenience in applying for a trademark. Furthermore, many of those companies have a pretty strong trademark as they applied a completely arbitrary term for the promotion of their products and services.

 

Image Source: shopify.com

 

But some may question why these banal trademarks were allowed in the first place. The factor that differentiates whether a common term may be tradermarked by a specific entity is the relation of the term to the company or brand’s purposes.

To illustrate, this article states that it is ludicrous to file for a trademark on the word “APPLE” if the company primarily dealt with the sale and distribution of apples as it would simply be a generic term for the goods provided. Meanwhile, companies could apply to trademark the term “APPLE” if they used word in connection with the manufacturing and sale of digital devices, for example.

 

 

Atty. Brad Lyerla is a counselor and trusted advisor to his clients concerning competition and intellectual property disputes. For more information on intellectual property and litigation, visit the Jenner & Block official website.

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