Fanciful or Coined Marks

A fanciful trademark is one that possesses the highest possible protection. This is because the mark is a completely made up name with no other real meaning attached to it thus making it unique.

The mark is an inherently distinctive mark from the very onset and is used for the sole purpose of being used as a trademark for the particular product/service to which the mark pertains. Famous examples of such marks are; Xerox for photocopying, Kodak for cameras/films, Reebok for shoes.

Since such a mark does not contain any secondary meaning, its sole function is restricted to its use as a TM, which helps in automatically distinguishing the owner’s products/services in the market.

The lesser the connection that a mark has to the product/service the more inherently distinctive it becomes consequently exposing it to a much higher degree of protection.

The only drawback to having a fanciful mark is that it will take sufficient time and recognition for the public to associate the mark with the product/service.

In cases of infringement, the owner of a fanciful mark would have a much higher chance of winning the suit because of the exclusive right vested in him to use the distinct mark in connection with his/her goods/services consequently giving him/her the right to prevent others from blatantly using the mark in order to ride on its goodwill and popularity.

However, it is interesting to note that fanciful marks contain the risk of eventually becoming generic in nature in some cases.

Generic marks are those that cannot be trademarked because they have slowly overtime become associated with a class or category of product/services.

For example; “Escalator” was a name of a company however over the years it has become a generic term that describes a class of goods i.e. automatic stairs.

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