When does a brand acquire distinctiveness?

Photo of Tomas Orsula

Written by Tomas Orsula

Senior Trademark Attorney

A brand acquires distinctiveness, also known as secondary meaning or secondary distinctiveness, when it becomes strongly associated with a particular source of goods or services in the minds of consumers. It occurs when consumers recognize the brand as an identifier of a specific business or product, going beyond its ordinary descriptive or generic meaning.

Distinctiveness can be acquired through continuous and exclusive use of the brand in commerce over a significant period. The time required to establish acquired distinctiveness can vary depending on factors such as the nature of the mark, the market conditions, and the level of consumer exposure to the brand.

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