An arbitrary trademark generally consists of a word that has nothing to do with the services or goods with which it is associated. For example, the trademark “Apple” is a well-known arbitrary mark that will be familiar to most readers. Under the common understanding of the English word, an apple is typically understood to be a type of fruit. As a brand, Apple uses the mark for association with its computers and telephones. Another famous arbitrary trademark is the mark DOVE for a bar of soap.
Arbitrary marks are strong trademarks, second only to fanciful marks. I generally advise clients to aim for a mark that is inherently distinctive when forming their brand. Suggestive, arbitrary, and fanciful marks are inherently distinctive and may be registered on the Principal Register without having to show proof of acquired distinctiveness. However, consumers may not initially associate your good or service with a fanciful, arbitrary, or suggestive mark without significant expenditure on marketing and brand development. Many startups with lower advertising and marketing budgets choose to use a suggestive or descriptive trademark so that consumer association of their mark with their particular good or service is initially fairly strong.
Stay tuned next week as we end our “How Strong is Your Brand” series with a final look at “fanciful” marks.
For information regarding our trademark registration services, don’t hesitate to contact our lawyers today.
Chelsie Spencer is a Senior Associate with the Dallas office of Kennedy Law, PC. She may be reached at 214-716-4345.