The following is an edited transcript of my video Key Trademark Terminology.

I find it fascinating when I’m in somebody else’s place of business and I’ll hear words that might have a meaning to me, but I know that they’re using them in a way that’s specific to their work and their industry. At the dentist office or at the auto shop, they’re using vocabulary terms to talk about their work that don’t resonate with me because I don’t know anything about dentistry or the insides of a car. The same thing can apply in the world of trademarks. There are lots of terms: many of them are common words in the English language, but they have very specific, unique, important meanings in the world of trademarks, and there can be a lot of nuance to it.

On their face, some of these words (such as application, common law, priority), are easily definable, but to know what they mean in the world of trademarks and trademark protection and a potential trademark dispute is a much more sophisticated question. To somebody who doesn’t practice trademarks every day, it’s not really possible to know the full meaning of all of these terms, like a comprehensive search vs. a knockout search; what does incontestable mean; descriptive vs. suggestive vs. generic when it comes to the strength–or lack of strength–in a particular term; or whether a term is arbitrary or fanciful.

If you work with a trademark attorney, you have a better chance of getting it right, and part of it is because of knowing the terminology. The data shows that experienced trademark attorneys have a greater rate of success in getting applications approved and registered at the USPTO.

Learn more about trademark registration – and terminology – in our Trademarkive®.

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