Thursday, December 03, 2009

Fanciful Trademarks

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

On the very left of that continuum are fanciful marks, which arguably are the strongest sort of marks to file. Filing these types of marks increase the likelihood of trademark registration (provided, of course, that the mark is legally available).

What is a Fanciful Mark?

Here’s what the USPTO says: “Fanciful marks comprise terms that have been invented for the sole purpose of functioning as a trademark or service mark. Such marks comprise words that are either unknown in the language (e.g., PEPSI, KODAK, and EXXON) or are completely out of common usage (e.g., FLIVVER).”

Basically, fanciful trademarks are either made up words or words that are seen as archaic.

Should I Choose a Fanciful Mark?

While fanciful marks are certainly the strongest types of trademarks, does it necessarily mean you should choose a fanciful word for your service or product? This is something you’ll need to decide in terms of your industry, your customers, your competitors, your customers and your overall plans.

Fanciful marks don’t necessarily “tell” a person what the product or service is so informing the public of that might require extensive work on your end. For a fantastic article about this very subject, I suggest reading Monster Amazon Crocs - Why Creative Brand Names Work Best by Phillip Davis.

How do I Create a Fanciful Mark?

Creative a fanciful mark is similar to that of creating a business name. You'll have to keep in mind all of the issues outlined above (industry, customers, plans, etc.). But when it comes to fanciful 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 fanciful 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. Now when it comes to actually creating the fanciful mark, you can peruse through dictionaries of archaic words should you want to go that route.

If you want a completely made-up word, think about words and letters in terms of appearance and sound. For instance, many pharmaceutical companies employ common sounds (e.g. Vs, Xs and Zs are often used). Start with two or three letter combos and most of all, have fun with it!

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Rudy said...

So that's what it's called- Fanciful trademark! Just last month, I was able to talk to a good intellectual property attorney (Denver law is his field of expertise) and he told me to read more about how trademarks and copyrights work. My partner and I have just started our business recently, and we're about to apply for a trademark. Well, it's about time to start thinking of a fanciful way to get a name!

Shannon Moore said...

Hi Rudy,

Thanks for reading! Please be sure to have that name comprehensively researched BEFORE filing. Good luck!

Warmest regards,

Rudy said...

Alright, Shannon. We'll take note of that. Thanks a lot for the help!

michael said...

I think fanciful trademarks are the best trademarks because they are unique and easy to remember. Thinking of a fanciful trademark can be quite difficult but when you made a fanciful trademark I'm sure it will be a hit.
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