Lapping up the trademark law

The question:

(Remember non-professionals:  “Distinctiveness” is the core of a trademark’s existence.  It is identical to secondary meaning.  Without it, you don’t have a trademark, because what you think you have is either descriptive — and it hasn’t “acquired distinctiveness” — or is generic, and it can never be distinctive, i.e., it can never be a trademark.)

What?! Outrageous?!  What will “they” try “to trademark” next?

Right?

The answer:

Of course. Outrageously obvious. Notwithstanding that some of us get into “a mode” and miss the obvious, obvious it is.

If you’re not a trademark pro and you’re still not following, let’s consider Ed’s brilliant example in one-dimensional terms, i.e., in the case of a “word mark.”  Can you obtain trademark rights for the word “salami”?

That sounds awful, doesn’t it?  Can someone really “steal a word from the English language” like that?

No, of course not — not if they claim rights in the word “salami” for salamis.

But for machine parts?

Salami trademarkNo problem!

That’s why all sorts of plain old words are trademarks — just not for the things they sound like.  Thus:

  • BELL — For bells; never.  But: Registration No. 4994811 for flavoring; Reg. No. 4917844 for lamps; Reg. No. 4556721 for helicopters
  • SLANT — For slanted things, never.  But:  Registration No. 3967129 for lighters; Reg. No. 3437230 for servingwear; Reg. No. 1473941 for tweezers
  • BALL — For balls, never.  But:  Registration No. 4964015 for manufacturing containers; Reg. No. 4854086 for leather goods; Reg. No. 4784764 for potting soil

Basic stuff, but that’s what we’re here for.

Ron Coleman

I write this blog.

One Reply to “Lapping up the trademark law”

  1. And thank you for the continuing education. I like these examples (much like the classic example, Apple).

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