Innovative Patent & Intellectual Property Attorneys

What is a descriptive trademark and is it the right choice?

| Apr 15, 2021 | Trademarks

For individuals and businesses in Minnesota that provide a service or create a product, it is exciting to bring that to the public. The product itself is undoubtedly crucial to the success of failure of any endeavor, but there are also legal issues that must be considered in the context of building and selling it. This is when it becomes imperative to understand the value of trademark protection. Most people might have a vague notion about trademarks, but do not understand how to go about getting one. It is also wise to know the type of trademark to have. Having professional guidance is useful when making that determination.

A descriptive trademark and when it is applicable

One of the most complex categories of trademarks is a descriptive trademark. As the name implies, the descriptive trademark simply informs the public about its function simply by saying it. However, if another entity makes the same kind of product, there is nothing to stop the public from identifying it similarly. Having a generic trademark like “television” will clearly define what it is and what it does through its name alone. For full protection with a descriptive trademark, secondary meaning may be key.

If there is secondary meaning to it, then this can create an awareness with the consumer and connect a company to the product. Some companies have a product that inspires an immediate connection with the public even if there is no specific attachment. Immediate recognition when the name is mentioned creates a mental pathway to the product. That is a form of secondary meaning. An example might be a food that is specific to the area. For those whose products have an obvious secondary meaning, a descriptive trademark might be sufficient to protect it. There will not be an exclusive trademark in this situation and people who want stronger trademark protection should think about alternatives.

Deciding on the right trademark may require professional help

A trademark can be inherently useful in protecting a company and its products. If there are trademark issues, it can damage if not outright destroy the business. There are many tenets to proper trademarks including establishing it based on the law, determining if it is available, filing the right forms, pursuing those who violate the trademark, maintaining it and more. For advice and help with trademarks – whether it is descriptive or otherwise – professional guidance can be beneficial from the start.


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