Skip to main content
Arbitrary Trademarks


The strength of a particular trademark is gauged according to the Distinctiveness & Descriptiveness Continuum. To see a chart, click here.

Arbitrary marks are not as strong as fanciful marks but they are still strong in terms of trademarks. Choosing an arbitrary mark certainly makes the trademark filing process easier, provided, of course, that the mark is legally available.

What is an Arbitrary Mark?

Here’s what the USPTO says:

“Arbitrary marks comprise words that are in common linguistic use but, when used to identify particular goods or services, do not suggest or describe a significant ingredient, quality, or characteristic of the goods or services.”

This is an area that confuses folks a bit. I know that’s a question we get a lot – I can’t trademark a name that’s in the dictionary, right? Well, like anything with trademarks, it’s a gray area. If the product is apple juice then, no, the name APPLE cannot be filed for a trademark as it’s descriptive of the goods. However, if the product is a line of computers then, yes, APPLE can be filed for a trademark.


As long as your arbitrary word is just that – arbitrary – in relation to your goods/services AND the name is legally available, you’ve got a strong mark on your hands!

How do I Choose an Arbitrary Mark?

Choosing an arbitrary mark is similar to that of creating a business name. When it comes to arbitrary marks, your imagination is really needed. Here are some helpful guidelines:

1) Write down all of the adjectives that you want your customer to associate with your product or service.


2) Research your competitors - how often are arbitrary words used? Do most of your competitors use descriptive terms? What kind of keywords/keyphrases are used when searching for your product or service online?


3) What's the personality of your business? Is it serious and formal? Is it fun and funky? Describe your business as if it were a friend of yours.


Those are just some ways to go about finding the "feeling" that you want your product or service to convey. Once you’ve got that set, start thinking about all the different words that convey that feeling.


For instance, if your business is fun and funky words/phrases like Grave Concerns or Staid are probably not a good idea. Conversely, if your business is serious and formal, you’ll probably want to stay away from words like Bubbles or Poodles. Most of all, have fun with it!

- Mention our blog & receive $25 off of our Premium Package -
- Put BLOG in the Contact Name field -

Comments

marry said…
Blogs are so informative where we get lots of information on any topic. Nice job keep it up!!
_____________________________

PhD Dissertation
Shannon Moore said…
Thanks Marry!

I appreciate you reading the blog & your kind comments!

If there's any subject you'd like further details on, please let me know.

Thanks again!

-- Shannon
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Popular posts from this blog

Trademark International Class: Class 35 (Advertising and Business Services)
All goods or services are categorized within International Classes (IC hereafter). Goods run from classes IC 1-34, while Services are in IC 35-45. Please see a complete chart here. Let's take a closer look at one of these trademark classes – class 35.

What is International Class 35 All About?

Each class has a short title heading that gives a snapshot of what that class is all about -- IC 35's short title is advertising and business services. Pretty vague, eh? The USPTO has 1476 accepted descriptions that fit into IC 35; check them out here.

The first part of IC 35’s description, advertising, is straightforward. If it’s advertising, marketing or promoting services that are being offered, then IC 35 is where it goes. Now there are going to be some exceptions, as with anything related to trademarks.
Tangible advertising goods, such as signs, flyers, brochures, are NOT going to be in IC 35 as those items are n…

Trademark 101: State Trademark or Federal Trademark?

Now that you know what a trademark is, what a trademark isn’t, and that you should get a trademark, let’s explore if a State trademark or Federal trademark is most appropriate for your needs.
For the USA, trademarks can be obtained either at the State level or the Federal level. So, which do you need? I’ll explain both and that’ll give you a clearer picture as where to go from here.
First and foremost, a State trademark gives you trademark protection for that specific state whereas a Federal trademark gives you trademark protection nationwide. Simple enough, yes? But, which is the right trademark for your needs?
1)Are you actively in business? 2)Are you only doing business in one city or county or just statewide?
If you answered yes to both, then exploring a State trademark is your next step. Here are some advantages to a State trademark:
·The right to expand statewide. The name will be waiting for you in other metros. ·If another mark is infringing upon yours within the state, you’ll have a…
Filing a Trademark: Standard Characters vs Stylized/Logo

When filing a trademark, the USPTO gives you two options: Standard Characters or Specialized Form (Stylized and/or Design). Let's look at each one in detail and that should help you decide the best way to file for your mark.

As with any discussion about filing for a trademark, it is always assumed that you've done your due diligence and had comprehensive research conducted. That being said…

Standard Characters

This option is selected to register "word(s), letter(s), number(s), or any combination thereof, with no design element and when you are not claiming any particular font, style, size, or color, and absent any stylization or design element." In essence the USPTO is talking about plain text.

To qualify for this claim, the mark entered must fit within the standard character set. This includes letters and numbers but also some symbols, such as the ampersand (&), the dollar sign ($), the asterisk (*), etc.

To se…