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  • Writer's pictureAleksejs Valle

How to Choose a Good Trademark

Choosing a trademark is a crucial business task that requires careful consideration and a basic understanding of trademark law. Get it right, and it can help to put your business on the road for long-term success. Get it wrong, and you could be wasting money, time, and even losing customers down the line. So what makes a good trademark and how to select the right one for your business?

Trademark strength


There is no one single definition of what a good trademark is, however, you can think of trademarks as having different levels of strength. Some trademarks will have a very wide and strong protection, other marks will be weak, and some will have no protection at all.

  1. Generic terms A generic word is a term that has become synonymous with an entire category of goods or services. Because they no longer identify a specific source or are incapable of distinguishing products of one company from the products of other companies, generic terms cannot be registered or protected as trademarks. For instance, the term ECO is generally understood to mean ecological.

  2. Descriptive trademarks Descriptive marks directly describe the product or its function. For example, RESTORE is descriptive for surgical and medical instruments. Since they lack inherent distinctiveness, descriptive trademarks are generally ineligible for protection. However, they can gain protection after acquiring distinctiveness through marketplace use, meaning consumers must come to primarily associate the mark with the specific product – a process that often takes years. Despite this, brand owners may favor descriptive marks for their immediate informative value for consumers. But long-term problems can arise if a product becomes wildly popular and the owner wishes to expand into other areas – this is where a descriptive trademark would present a significant limitation as it would simply not fit with other types of products.

  3. Suggestive trademarks Suggestive marks hint at the nature of the goods or services without directly describing them. They require some imagination from the consumers to understand their connection with the product. Think of “BLUEBERRIA” for berries – it suggests the product without being an obvious descriptor. Unlike descriptive marks, suggestive marks enjoy inherent registrability, meaning they don't need to prove their distinctiveness through extensive use.

  4. Arbitrary/coined trademarks At the top of the distinctiveness scale, there are two types of marks: coined and arbitrary. Coined marks, like GOOGLE, are entirely invented and hold no meaning. Arbitrary marks, on the other hand, like APPLE for consumer electronics, use common words in completely unusual ways. Since these type of marks have no inherent connection to their products, they often require significant marketing effort to build consumer awareness. However, the payoff is immense – think of the recognition achieved by a brand like ROLEX for wristwatches.

Other considerations


Apart from choosing the strongest possible trademark, always keep in mind a set of some basic rules, which will help you get through the trademark registration process and avoid possible trouble in the future.


  1. Do not choose trademarks that already belong to someone else There are more than 80 million active trademark registrations in the world today and the number of registrations have been increasing consistently. It means that coming up with a unique brand name or logo has been more difficult than ever before. Your trademark should not be too similar to someone else’s existing mark and the copyright in your trademark should belong to you.

  2. Avoid deceptive trademarks Do not use names or descriptions that mislead customers about what a product really is. It can be an actual deceit or a sufficiently serious risk that the consumer will be deceived about the product's ingredients, quality, or where it's made. Basically, a deceptive mark tells you something that isn't true. For example, you couldn't name a cigarette brand “DE-NIC” if the cigarettes actually contained nicotine.

  3. Refrain from using marks that are offensive This includes signs that contradict the basic principles and fundamental values of democratic society or that consist of blasphemous, racist, discriminatory or insulting words or phrases.

  4. Choose trademarks that are linguistically appropriate SEAT is a brand of a well-known Spanish car manufacturer. Does the name sound equally great in all the countries where the SEAT cars are sold? Apparently it has a better perception in Spain than in the United Kingdom or the United States where the word has a clear meaning for something that you seat on.



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