What Is a “Fanciful” or “Arbitrary” Trade Mark?
To be eligible for trade mark registration, your brand asset must be distinctive. This means that it can be distinguished from other goods or services in the same market as yours. One of the best ways to have a strong, distinguishable trade mark is to have a fanciful or arbitrary trade mark. This article will take you through fanciful and arbitrary trade marks and the advantages of having a strong trade mark.
What Is a Trade Mark?
A trade mark is one form of protection over your intellectual property (IP). A trade mark can distinguish your brand from others to enable you to stand out in the market. Trade marks can be several forms, such as a:
- shape; or
- any combination of the above.
The purpose of a trade mark is to distinguish your brand from others. For word marks, fanciful and arbitrary trade marks are the strongest type of trade marks.
What Is a Fanciful Trade Mark?
A fanciful trade mark is a word mark that you have devised for the sole purpose of being a trade mark. These words are completely random, with the word having no other meaning outside of the trade mark. This is considered the strongest type of trade mark. A famous example of a fanciful trademark is the photography company ‘Kodak’.
What Is an Arbitrary Trade Mark?
An arbitrary trade mark is a trade mark that uses a word unrelated to the goods or services the trade mark is for. The ‘Camel’ name for the cigarette company or the ‘Apple’ trade mark used by the brand in relation to technology goods and services are some famous examples of arbitrary trade marks. While ‘Apple’ would not be a strong trade mark for goods or services relating to food or drink (and may not be eligible for registration in such circumstances), it is strong in a contrasting trade mark class.
Advantages of Fanciful and Arbitrary Trade Marks
The fundamental nature of fanciful and arbitrary trade marks means that they are strong. A strong trade mark will positively impact the success, both in the registration phase and in the market. Some of the advantages of fanciful and arbitrary trade marks are outlined below.
A key benefit of fanciful and arbitrary trade marks is that it is easier to register them as a trade mark. The key requirement of a trade mark is that it is distinctive. A fanciful and arbitrary trade mark is much easier to demonstrate as being distinct. This is because if you conduct a trade mark search, it is unlikely that other businesses are using an identical or similar trade mark to your fanciful or arbitrary one.
Another key benefit of fanciful and arbitrary trade marks is that it is easier for your brand to stand out from the crowd. The distinctiveness of these types of trade marks means that your brand will stand out from all of your competitors, which can further your brand reputation and increase your sales.
A major benefit to trade mark enforcement is the exclusive rights to use your trade mark. Enforcing your trade mark rights is much easier if it is fanciful or arbitrary. This is because it will be much easier to demonstrate your exclusive rights to your trade mark and to show that infringement could lead to consumer deception.
Registering a trade mark is a great way to protect your business. Having fanciful or arbitrary trade marks is one way to ensure you have a strong trade mark. Some of the benefits of fanciful and arbitrary trade marks include:
- easier trade mark registration;
- furthering your brand reputation; and
- straightforward trade mark enforcement.
Frequently Asked Questions
A strong trade mark will positively impact the success of your trade mark, both in the registration phase and in the market. Two types of strong trade marks are fanciful and arbitrary trade marks. A fanciful trade mark is one that has been devised for the sole purpose of a trade mark, while an arbitrary trade mark is one that uses a word unrelated to the goods or services it is trade marked for.
A key advantage of fanciful and arbitrary trade marks is that they are strong trade marks. This means it will be easier to obtain trade mark registration and more straightforward to enforce your trade mark rights. Further, a fanciful or arbitrary trade mark will better stand out amongst competitors, furthering your brand reputation.