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How Strong is Your Trademark? 5 Levels of Distinctiveness [Infographic]

By John DiGiacomo

Picking a mark to represent your brand can be one of the most important decisions you make. Think about the brands we see everyday. Apple. Coca Cola. Microsoft. These are immediately identifiable both with the company and the products they produce.

Just how strong is your trademark?

On one end of the spectrum, are descriptive or generic marks. These are the weakest marks, and either can’t be trademarked, or require that the mark acquire secondary meaning first.

Proceeding by increased strength are suggestive, arbitrary, and fanciful terms. Each has it’s own requirements for trademark registration, with fanciful being the strongest of all marks and most likely to receive trademark registration.

strength of a trademark

The benefits to trademark registration are numerous. In order to receive the benefits of trademark registration, care should be taken to select a mark that is high on the scale below.

These issues should be considered when determining whether to apply for trademark registration, or even better, before significant investment is made into building a brand.

You can see each type of trademark strength, plus examples, in the infographic below. If you’re in the branding stages of your company, or considering a rebrand, keep it handy! You’re going to use this guide for reference as you develop ideas to identify your brand.



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