If you have a branding issue then reach out to a trademark attorney Naperville IL trusts. While a patent protects your inventions, trademarks safeguard your brand. In today’s globally competitive environment, the strength of your brand is more important than ever. Our trademark attorney Naperville IL respects can work to understand your brand, and how to use trademarks to strengthen and protect your brand.
If you are considering a new mark, we can help you by conducting a thorough search and ensuring that the term you are considering is clear of conflicting marks within the field of use that you seek to use the new mark. We can also advise you on the probability of a new mark being granted, help you file and obtain rights to your new mark in the United States and around the world.
If a competitor is seeking to register a new mark that is confusingly similar to one of your established marks, our attorneys can help you by opposing the grant of the mark, or seeking cancellation of the mark after it has been granted. We understand the workings of the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board of the United States Patent and Trademark Office, as well as the processes used by similar offices throughout the world. Let an experienced trademark attorney Naperville IL has to offer guide your company through a complicated process.
Finally, if a conflict should arise between your company and another over the use of a mark, we can help you efficiently and successfully resolve your dispute. For example, if a company is hurting your business by using your mark in commerce, unfairly competing with you by passing off your product as their own, or passing off their products as yours, our attorneys can help you obtain the maximum relief possible. Similarly, if your business has been accused of improperly using a trademark, or unfairly competing with another, we can assist in negotiating a resolution to the matter, or litigating any resultant suit.
If you have a question about trademarks, please feel free to reach out to us via telephone or email. You may also fill out our online inquiry form and we will strive to get back to you within 24 hours. At the Law Offices of Konrad Sherinian, our trademark lawyers, Chicago & Naperville IL can provide skilled guidance.
DISTINCTIVE VERSUS GENERIC OR DESCRIPTIVE MARKS
As the primary purpose of a trademark is to distinguish the goods and services of one source from another, a mark must serve that function to actually be a trademark. The quality of identifying the source of products or services is referred to as “distinctiveness;” a mark must be distinctive to function as a trademark. Certain marks are naturally distinctive, and can function as an identifier of source immediately on use. Other marks need time and commercial activity to become associated with the goods or services of an entity prior to becoming distinctive. Distinctiveness is often described as a spectrum, ranging from “fanciful” marks to “generic” marks. Our trademark attorney Naperville IL relies on can clarify further, but a brief description of the most common classifications follows:
A fanciful mark is usually a made up term, image or design that has no meaning prior to its adoption as a mark. For example, Pepsi was a made up word without meaning prior to its adoption as a trademark. A fanciful mark will not be found in any dictionary prior to its use as a mark.
An arbitrary mark is an ordinary term, image or design that is used in a meaningless context. Apple is commonly used as an example of an arbitrary mark, in that Apple, while an ordinary word, has no relation at all to computers, software, music players, telephones, and the other equipment that Apple sells. On the other hand, if Apple decided to start selling apple juice, the mark would likely be qualified as generic.
A suggestive mark indicates the nature of a product or service it is associated with, or a quality or characteristic of the product or service it is associated with. For a mark to be suggestive, rather than descriptive, the suggestion must require an imaginative leap, and cannot directly describe the product. For example, Scotch tape, 7-11, and Amtrak are considered suggestive marks
A descriptive mark directly describes the nature of the product or service it is associated with, or a quality or characteristic of the product or service it is associated with, with no imaginative leap required. For example, World Book is considered a descriptive mark as it directly describes the product (encyclopedias) it is associated with. An example from the world of social media is SnapChat since it is an application that connects users to live chat using their video image. Both of these delivery services have descriptive marks since they are an acronym or abbreviation for what they do: United Parcel Service (UPS) or FedEx.
A generic term is one that describes the product or service with which it is associated as a category or type. As such, a generic term cannot distinguish between competing versions of the product or service, and is said to lack distinctiveness. Some examples of generic terms are “All Natural” and “Garlic Oil” because they describe the product or service with which they are associated. It is possible for a once distinctive term to become generic due to use by the public to describe all versions of a product or service, and not just those offered by the mark user. For example, the term “Xerox” was once a trademark, Over many years it became associated with making copies in general, and not just making copies from a Xerox branded copier. If you are unsure which type of trademark you may need, contact a trademark attorney Naperville IL turns to, to provide guidance.
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