Trademarks: How They Are Classified by the USPTO [Infographic]

Trademarks are a form of intellectual property, which has foundations in the US dating back to the Constitution. Intellectual Property law serves to protect rights of the creators. While Intellectual Property does not protect property that is tangible, meaning physical, it protects intangible rights – often times creating monopolies such that failure to do so would result in fewer innovations being created. Other Intellectual Property rights include Patents, Copyrights, and Trade Secrets. Trademarks are used to protect brands and the consumer. Specifically, a trademark is used to identify and distinguish the source of the goods or services. There are many categories to describe trademarks, all with varying levels of protection. These categories are: Fanciful, Arbitrary, Suggestive, Descriptive, and Generic. From Fanciful to Generic, the level of strength decreases, meaning that fanciful marks are the strongest and receive the most protections allowed by law and the United States Patent and Trademark Office, while generic marks receive no protection. Registering your trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office is not mandatory – in fact, protections are not required to obtain common law rights. However, registering your trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office has many benefits.  Among these benefits are national protection and increase in the overall strength of your brand.

Image Source: Cordero Law LLC

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