oa De Rebus - Everyday words can be the death of a trade mark : feature

Volume 2015, Issue 549
  • ISSN : 0250-0329



A trade mark is a mark, word, name, sign, symbol, device or any combination thereof by means of which manufacturers may distinguish their products from the products of others. The law protects trade marks by allowing them to be registered and exclusively used by the trade mark holder. Traditionally marks are classified in order of descending strength, as arbitrary or fanciful, suggestive, descriptive or generic. Terms that are deemed generic are not entitled to trade mark protection because such words are in the public domain and available for all to use. A generic term identifies 'a type of product', not the source of the product, and is not entitled to legal protection. A generic term therefore serves to name the goods themselves, rather than the producer of the product.

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