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What’s In a Name: The Requirements and Expectations for A Trademark

Once you’ve made the wise decision to trademark your business, you may or may not know where to start. The legal realm of trademark regulations is full of specific rules and requirements. If you’d like to learn more about the fundamental requirements for a trademark, then you’ve come to the right place! Here are the basic requirements to attain a trademark and the expectations of a trademark owner.

1. Distinctiveness:

The first consideration when assessing eligibility for trademark protection is often whether or not a mark is distinct. In the world of trademarks, a mark is distinct if it is capable of properly differentiating the goods and services of one entity from another. There are actually four categories of distinctive marks.

  • Fanciful marks are invented terms without any pre-existing meaning.
  • Arbitrary marks are terms that already exist in a context unrelated to the good or service being offered.
  • Suggestive marks are terms that suggest a quality about the good or service without directly describing it.
  • Descriptive marks outright describe a good or service. These may receive legal protection once they gain a secondary meaning due to long-term use.

2. Commerciality:

In order to maintain protection and even be eligible for registration, a trademark must be used in commerce. This means that it must be attached to the goods or services for which the name is registered. Even if your trademark isn’t yet being used, it’s advisable to still file a trademark application for the time being.

3. Non-Offensiveness & Non-Deceptiveness:

Unsurprisingly, offensive or scandalous trademarks may be refused registration by the USPTO if they are deemed to be harmful or against public policy and morality. In a similar vein, misleading and deceptive trademarks can also be denied. If a trademark falsely describes an attribute, authenticity, or origin of a product, it may be subject to denial based on deceptiveness.

4. Registrability:

Registrability is the ability for a term or mark to be registered as a trademark. Most often, it is because they lack distinctiveness. In many such cases, a descriptive mark only gains registrability once the mark receives a secondary meaning through repeated use. So, something being unregistrable is not always a fixed trait. To navigate the complexities of registration, it’s advisable to seek the expertise of a trademark attorney.

5. Application:

In order to actually obtain protection for your trademark you need to find and file an application under the relevant trademark office in your jurisdiction. Though the specifics of the application may vary, the basic information is generally the same. At this point, you may want to consult a trademark lawyer to guide you through the process and ensure that you aren’t skipping over any crucial details.

6. Renewability:

Even after your application is created, filed, reviewed, and approved by the relevant patenting office, you will have to continue to pay registration fees and renew it as needed. In order to maintain your trademark it’s important to keep up with the fees and deadlines of the office. In order to stay up to date with the guidelines, the assistance of a legal expert can be instrumental.

7. Defensive Use: 

Now that your trademark is properly registered, it’s your job as the rightful owner of the trademark to actively protect it. Keeping your eyes peeled for unauthorized use or infringement and pursuing swift legal action maintains the strength and validity of your trademark. At this stage, having a properly registered trademark can make a world of difference in any ensuing legal battles. A trademark lawyer can properly defend your business and brand with it.


The process of filing and maintaining a trademark is a meticulous yet important process. One small misstep can stand in between you and your business dreams. At Dike Law Group, we have the experience and knowledge to guide you through every step of this process. Although we specialize in legal services for healthcare businesses, our trademarking services are offered to anyone. If you’re interested in learning more about trademarks, contact us today!

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