The following is an edited transcript of our video Trademark Refusal: Genericness.

Once you apply for a trademark at the USPTO, there are numerous grounds on which your mark can be refused registration, one of which is a claim that your mark is generic.

Generic words typically refer specifically to a particular good or service, or a class of goods or services. They’re incapable of being protected as trademarks because they don’t indicate a particular brand or source, which is what a trademark is supposed to do. For example, a business that produces cameras called “Camera Company” tells you exactly what it is, and everyone needs to be able to use the word camera to describe a camera.

The takeaway is, when you’re choosing a name, be creative. Do your best not to come up with words that call the thing exactly what it is or that even describe it. Instead, try to think of something that hints at or suggests the good or service to make it more creative and thought provoking for consumers.

Share this blog post >

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *