How Strong is Your Brand? (Suggestive Marks)

In a series of posts, I am discussing the spectrum of distinctiveness, which can be used to evaluate the potential strength of a mark. This post is about marks that are suggestive. I discussed the relatively weaker types of trademarks, generic marks and merely descriptive marks, in previous posts.

Suggestive marks on the distinctiveness spectrum.

A suggestive mark is one that requires imagination, thought, or perception to arrive at an understanding of what is represented by the mark. An incongruous word combination or coinage of previously unused terms indicate a suggestive mark. For example: the mark “Dri-Foot” is suggestive of anti-perspirant deodorant for feet, “Tint Tone” is suggestive for hair coloring, and “Tennis in the Round” is suggestive for providing tennis facilities.

I am personally a fan of the suggestive trademark category because of the possibility for clever wordplay, which I believe could enhance the visibility of a mark and make it memorable. Also, consumers may be more likely to remember what type of product a suggestive mark represents once they make the connection the first time.

A suggestive mark may be registered directly to the Primary Register and gain the benefits of trademark registration (after the USPTO examining trademark attorney has determined there are no confusingly similar marks already in use by others, of course). Suggestive marks receive a higher level of protection than merely descriptive and generic marks.

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