What makes a brand eligible to be registered as a trademark?

Photo of Jan Buza

Written by Jan Buza

Co-founder of Trama

To be eligible for registration as a trademark, a brand must possess certain characteristics and meet specific criteria. Here are the key factors that determine the eligibility of a brand for trademark registration:

  • Distinctiveness: The brand must be distinctive, meaning it should be capable of distinguishing the goods or services of one business from those of others. Distinctiveness can fall into different categories, including fanciful (invented words with no dictionary meaning), arbitrary (existing words unrelated to the goods/services), suggestive (hinting at a quality or characteristic), or acquired distinctiveness (descriptive terms that have gained secondary meaning through extensive use).
  • Non-Generic Nature: A brand cannot be a generic term that refers to the common name or class of goods or services. Generic terms are not eligible for trademark protection because they do not serve the purpose of distinguishing a particular source.
  • Proper Usage: The brand must be used in commerce in connection with the specific goods or services for which registration is sought. It should be associated with the offering or marketing of goods or services in a way that indicates the source or origin of those goods or services.
  • Not Confusingly Similar: The brand should not create a likelihood of confusion with existing registered trademarks or prior common law rights. It should not be substantially similar to another mark in terms of appearance, sound, or meaning, in a way that could confuse consumers regarding the source of the goods or services.

It is important to consult with a trademark attorney or professional to assess the distinctiveness and registrability of your specific brand. They can provide guidance based on the jurisdiction you are seeking trademark protection in and help navigate the registration process to ensure compliance with applicable laws and regulations.

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