Trademark Filing in 10 Easy Steps

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Trademark a name - using Arbitary marks

Tradtrademark filing picture 3emarks are gauged by their distinctiveness and their descriptiveness.    It is possible for you to use common words in what is known as an Artibary mark  (see definition below) to trademark a name. An Arbitary mark makes trademark filing easier – provided it is not infringing on some else’s mark (ie legally available).So, what is an artibary mark.

“Arbitrary marks comprise words that are in common linguistic use but, when used to identify particular goods or services, do not suggest or describe a significant ingredient, quality, or characteristic of the goods or services.” (USPTO)

Now normally you can’t use a name that is in the dictionary for a trademark BUT – if it is used in an area not normally associated with the name, then you might be able to use it as an Artibary Mark.  For example, “Milk ” can’t be trademarked  for dairy products as it describes the product but it where is it used for a movie and its associated products, then Milk the movie (  can be trademark registered.

So, if your arbitary word is … arbitary …in respect to your goods or services plus it is not contravening someone elses mark then you’ve got a very good trademark.

How do I select an arbitary mark?

Here are some suggested steps:

  1. for your product or service – write down all the descriptive words that your clients or customers use for it .  This is important – it is not what you assocate with the product or service but what your customers are saying about it.
  2. check out your competition – are they using arbitary words, and do an trademark search just to check.
  3. describe your business in terms as if it is a person – so that someone could see it from your description

Doing these things will help you to identify possible arbitary words as the basis for your next trademark filing and to trademark a name.

Once, you’ve done this – consult with your trademark advisor for further guidance.


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