Your trademarks can have a significant amount of value. While they can be indicative of the quality of goods or services that you provide, they can also be a symbol of your business’s reputation and the goodwill that you’ve developed among your consumer base.
However, your trademark’s value may be dictated by its distinctiveness simply because those trademarks that are more distinctive receive a higher level of protection, meaning that they are less susceptible to infringement without repercussions. But how is distinctiveness determined?
How is distinctiveness assessed?
Courts that handle intellectual property matters are often tasked with determining whether a mark is suggestive or descriptive, as well as whether a mark is descriptive or generic. To get a better sense of where a mark falls on the spectrum of distinctiveness, a court may look at consumer responses. If a consumer has never come across the mark before and the mark is fanciful or arbitrary, the mark will likely be found to be registerable and, therefore, protected.
If, on the other hand, the mark merely describes a certain aspect of the product, the amount of protection afforded to the mark is significantly diminished. In fact, many descriptive marks don’t receive trademark protection unless their holder can demonstrate that the mark has acquired some sort of secondary meaning, such as when the mark becomes so recognizable that consumers automatically associate the mark with the specific brand that holds the mark.
Do you need help navigating your intellectual property issues?
Distinctiveness is just one of the many issues that you might have to confront as you try to get a handle on your intellectual property. In order to protect these valuable pieces of property, you might want to work closely with an attorney who is well-versed in this area of the law and can help guide you through whatever problems you might be facing.