What is a good trademark?
‘What is a good trademark’ is one of the most frequently asked questions by our clients. This typically becomes the subject-matter of discussion when our lawyers opine on the trademark-ability or registrability of a proposed mark. Clients often get upset or put off when we try to make them understand that their trademark are vulnerable to objection and opposition. Law is a lousy mistress and complex subject – this is no exception for intellectual property laws. Although the IPR laws seem very plain and simple, interpretation of each clauses is definitely a complex thing.
Is it a difficult task? YES!
Creating or selecting a trademark is definitely no easy task as in case of naming a baby boy or girl. While there are companies whose mainstream services are to coin names, they may not be affordable for every business owner. Although there are no hard-and-fast rules of what may be a successful trademark, there are some useful guidelines. These guidelines given below will undoubtedly help you in creating a good trademark, if not a creative one. Trade mark must be one that can have protected perpetually, as trademarks can be perpetually renewed every 10 years.
Common requirements for a good trademark?
- Easy to read, spell, pronounce and remember in all relevant languages.
- No offensive meaning in slang or undesirable connotations in local and/or foreign languages especially if it is intended to be used abroad or cause confusion among public.
- It should not create confusion as to the nature or origin of the product.
- It should be adaptable to all advertising media.
- It should not hurt any religious sentiments
- It should not include any whole or part of registered trademarks, subject to exceptions.
Three Categories of Trade Marks
Any trademark is likely to fall under one of the categories discussed below. It is a known fact that good trademarks are invented ones.
Invented or coined or fancy words: Marks that are invented, not being found in dictionary or not being used commonly, without any real meaning in any language (e.g. Kodak, Maggi) fall in this category. Invented words have greater advantage of being easy to protect as they are more likely to be considered distinct.
Arbitrary marks: Marks that consist of words that have a real meaning in a given language. The meaning of such words, however, has no relation to the product itself or to any of its qualities (e.g. Apple for a Computer). As is the case with coined words, while the level and ease of protection is generally high, there is no direct association between the mark and the product requiring thus greater marketing power to create such an association in the mind of the consumer.
Suggestive marks: Marks which hint at one or some of the attributes of the product. The appeal of suggestive marks lies in the fact that they act as a form of advertising and may create a direct association in the mind of consumers between the trademark, certain desired qualities and the product. However, in some countries, even suggestive trademarks are considered as descriptive and registration may be refused.
It is wise to invest time in creating a trade mark!
A lawyer or any other person is no better person than you are in creating the trade mark you want. Essentially, a good trade mark will not only keep you away from any unwarranted lengthy legal complications, but also help you exploit your mark locally as well as internationally for years and years.