Selecting a good trademark
A trademark must be chosen carefully. If you are launching a product and adopting a new trademark, please bear in mind that the scope of legal protection you would obtain depends on the type of trademark chosen.
The most common mistake is to choose a word that is descriptive of the goods or services. People do this in the belief that the consumer will know straight away what the product is or the service rendered. The same result can easily be obtained by combining a distinctive and fanciful trademark with a word which indicates the goods or services. E.g. Kodak film.
Descriptive trademarks are difficult to register and enforce. Although it may be easier to market such products at inception, such trademarks are offered the least amount of protection and therefore, in the long term, it would be difficult to stop your competitors from using the same or similar trademarks.
A better strategy would be to adopt a coined word, which has no reference to the goods/services upon which it is used. E.g. Canon
Another option is to adopt an arbitrary word, which has no relevance to the goods/services upon which it is used. E.g. Apple computers; Lotus software
The more distinctive a trademark is, the broader will be the available scope of protection.
GUIDELINES TO BE FOLLOWED:
- AVOID Superlative or Laudatory words E.g. Premium, Gold, Deluxe
- AVOID Descriptive words E.g. Coffee shop for coffee bars; Cooler for Refrigerators
- AVOID trademarks Confusing Similar to existing trademarks
- AVOID words which have direct reference to the Character or Quality of the product/service. E.g. Best Choice, Easy Cook, Super
- AVOID Common Personal Names or surnames. Such names are registrable only if it has acquired distinctiveness through advertisements and long use
Well known geographical names such as SWISS chocolates or U.S.A. pizza are also not registrable.
There are also other factors to be considered in the adoption of trademarks, which is beyond the scope of this text.