An arbitrary trademark is highly protectable, and in this example, a great way to learn the differences between the types of marks. One of my favorite topics is teaching clients how to select a mark that is strong and can be legally protected. The arbitrary trademark COTTON CANDY (no not for that sugary fluff that melts in your mouth) provides an excellent opportunity to understand how to choose a mark, and to recognize a good one when you see it!
Do you know the six steps to building a sustainable brand? You might wish to review the Six steps to building a suitable brand.
An Arbitrary Trademark Is Highly Protectible
The trademark continuum is the guide by which trademarks are categorized according to the legal protection that will be afforded them. The continuum of COINED, ARBITRARY, SUGGESTIVE, DESCRIPTIVE and GENERIC is a valuable way to judge whether a proposed term will be granted registration and if so, will it be enforceable if needed? How to Choose a Good Trademark.
Coined terms are the strongest, and are made up of words. ALTOIDS and XEROX are two famous examples of coined or made-up word marks. An arbitrary trademark is created when a generic word is applied arbitrarily to unrelated goods or services to create a strong brand. Examples of otherwise generic words that have become a famous arbitrary trademark include APPLE for computers, and DIESEL for clothing.
A recent filing at the U.S. Trademark office for the mark COTTON CANDY is a terrific example of an otherwise generic term that has been used as an arbitrary trademark. At the same time, it’s also an arbitrary trademark that is suggestive, but not descriptive of the product for which registration is claimed, namely bath towels. Read more and learn these distinctions so you can choose wisely for your own brand, or advise clients who are headed in the wrong direction.