What Is A Fanciful Trademark?

Along with arbitrary trademarks, fanciful trademarks are generally the easiest to register with the USPTO (United States & Trademark Office).  Fanciful trademarks are also afforded the broadest scope of trademark protection. A fanciful trademark is a made-up word or phrase that has been coined specifically as a trademark. Fanciful trademarks are typically the strongest type of trademark, as they have no meaning other than as a brand name. Arbitrary trademarks could also be terms that are completely out of common usage and not known to the average consumer.

To be eligible for registration, a fanciful trademark must be distinctive and not confusingly similar to any existing trademarks. Some examples of brand names that are fanciful trademarks include:

  • “Amazon” – a brand of e-commerce and technology company;
  • “Walmart” – a brand of retail big box and e-commerce company;
  • “Etsy” – a brand of e-commerce company;
  • “eBay” – a brand of e-commerce company;
  • “Pepsi” – a brand of soft drinks;
  • “Twitter” – a brand of social media;
  • “Google” – a brand of search engines and online services;
  • “Tesla” – a brand of electric cars and clean energy company;
  • “Zoom” – a brand of video conferencing software; and
  • “Spotify” – a brand of music streaming service.

Fanciful Trademarks Are Strong Marks

Fanciful trademarks are considered to be the strongest type of trademarks on the spectrum of distinctiveness. This is because they are completely invented or made-up words or phrases that have no meaning other than as a trademark. They are considered inherently distinctive and are entitled to the strongest legal protection. Because they are unique, they are not likely to be confused with any other existing trademarks, making it easier for consumers to identify the source of the goods or services. Also, because they have no meaning outside the context of the brand, they are less likely to become generic over time.  If you need assistance with selecting a trademark for your brand, company, product or service, our trademark attorneys can assist.  Please call or fill out one of our trademark contact forms and we will respond within one business day.

What Is the Spectrum of Distinctiveness?

The spectrum of distinctiveness, as described by the Trademark Manual of Examining Procedure (TMEP), is a continuum of categories that determine the strength of a trademark’s ability to distinguish the goods or services it represents from those of others. The five categories, from most distinctive to least distinctive, are: (1) fanciful or coined marks, (2) arbitrary marks, (3) suggestive marks, (4) descriptive marks, and (5) generic marks.

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