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Written by : Harley Swartout
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can I use a common word as a trademark that's a question I get a lot and I'm gonna spend the next three minutes talking about it I'm Angela Liang Lots trademark and copyright attorney and I go live here on weekdays to talk trademarks and copyrights so there seems to be this myth that one cannot use a common word as a trademark and that is just not true we do see all the time common words used as trademarks what's an example let's take a really well-known and famous one Apple Apple is a very famous trademark for computers and cellular phones and other computer peripherals and it is indeed a very common word one of the most common words in the English language so yes you can use a common word as a trademark but you have to make sure that you're not using it as a trademark or attempting to use it as a trademark for the goods that are named by the common word let me give you an example Apple is a great trademark for anything but apples right so if you have an apple cart or a an apple stand and you're selling apples yes indeed you may not use the trademark Apple for those goods and services why because if we allow you to have the exclusive use to use the word Apple with your business of selling apples then because the trademark gives you the exclusive right to use that term in conjunction with your goods or services if we allow you to get a trademark for Apple it would prevent anybody else who sells apples from saying that they have a store where they sell apples and that's not the per of trademarks the purpose of a trademark is to distinguish your goods and services from other people's goods and services and if what you're proposing to use is the trademark merely describes the goods or in the case of Apple for Apple selling only is a generic descriptor for the goods that you're selling we can't allow you to do that it's not distinctive so yes you can use an ordinary word as a trademark so long as it doesn't have anything to do with the ordinary word or the goods are not part of the selling of that ordinary word so yes go ahead use a trademark that's an ordinary word but just don't use it for that thing right so if you want to use Apple don't put it on apple's i'm angela lang lot's trademark and copyright attorney and i go live here on weekdays to talk trademarks and copyrights message me on my facebook page facebook.com forward slash trademark doctor with any trademark questions or copyright questions you can also find me online at trademark doctor net if you go to youtube and search trademark doctor you'll find a whole video library right there
Thanks for your comment Brinda Pauline, have a nice day.
- Harley Swartout, Staff Member
I love this question from Korra what right does anyone have to trademark a basic common word and tell anyone else that they cannot use it in their business name in this case the word is Road which isn't the title of our business name and roads is in theirs my name is Andre Minka from the founder of trademark Factory on this channel I've answered hundreds of questions just like this one and if you're interested in my opinion or just to learn about brands trademarks entrepreneurship intellectual property make sure you subscribe and get notified whenever the next video goes live and if you've got a question for me post a comment below and I'll answer your question in the video just like this one so going back to this question what right does anyone have to trademark a basic common word road versus roads well here's my answer to this questionanyone can trademark basic common words because trademarking is not about unique words unique phrases unique designs trademarks are about unique identifiers for products and services and there's a huge difference there you're not required to come up with fully original worth like think about it one of the most valuable brands out there Apple what could be more common than that but the word Apple uniquely identifies their brand the phones for computers for music right because they're not selling apples so as long as your company is not in a road construction business and as long as the other company is not in the road construction business then Road does not define what you do then it could be a word that's trademark able and if they had trademarked it first and they're in the same space as you are then not only do they have the right to trademark their brand not only do they have the right to enforce their trademark against you using it without their permission they'd be crazy not to because that's the whole idea for trademarking brands that you are given the monopoly over the use of your brand and you have the exclusive right to it and you have the right and almost an obligation to defend it against anybody else who uses the same brand without your permission you you have to do that because otherwise if everyone sees that you are allowing others to use your brand without your permission they're diluting your brand they're killing the value of your brand they're killing the value of your trademark at some point you will lose the ability to enforce your brand against others so again I don't know exactly what they trademarked I don't know exactly what your name is because you say the reward road is part of theirs and yours again being part of something is vague right depending on how dominant that word is in the whole brand for them and for you also host similar the products and services are that they offer that you offer maybe they're right maybe they're wrong but to go back to your point perfectly okay to trademark dictionary common words perfectly okay to enforce them against those who use the same or similar brand in connection with same or similar products and services they're doing what they're supposed to be doing and if you are not sure this is probably something that you should discuss with your attorneys now one last point before I call it a day with this video if you start a business and you give it a name it's your responsibility as the business owner to make sure that that's the name you can own and the next step is for you to actually make sure that you own the name because guess what what is the most important thing to make your brand a success the most important thing to make your brand a success is to make sure that it's your brand because if it's not your brand you can never make your brand a success because it's not your brand and the way to do it is with a trademark so I trade my factory that's what we do we help business owners protect their brands if you came up with a name and you want to see if it's trademark able go bulk a call with our strategy advisors to coalesce free go to trademark factory calm for it slash coal or just go to the homepage and the first big button you're gonna see is to book a free call with our strategy advisors do that and we'll take it from there if you like this video if you found it useful make sure you like this video make sure you subscribe make sure your comment below if you've got a comment if you've got a question and until then I will see you in the next video
Thanks Vrespab your participation is very much appreciated
- Harley Swartout
About the author
I've studied chondogyo at Florida SouthWestern State College in Fort Myers and I am an expert in statistical mechanics. I usually feel awake. My previous job was waiter I held this position for 28 years, I love talking about meditation and nascar. Huge fan of Avril Lavigne I practice acrobatic gymnastics and collect steiff teddy bears.
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