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Written by : Randal Shuttlesworth
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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 Lynn Kronstedt, have a nice day.
- Randal Shuttlesworth, Staff Member
does the spacing between the words of a trademark affect trademark rights a viewer asks me that question she wants to know i'm angela langlotz trademark and copyright attorney and i go live here on weekdays to discuss trademarks and copyrights i'm going to spend the next four minutes answering her question so her question was if i trademark a business name and fail to put a space between the words for example happy day one word versus happy space day will both be registered and the answer is no the junior mark in that case assuming the goods were related would not register why well when we evaluate whether or not trademarks are confusingly similar and that is the standard when we evaluate the similarity of the marks one of the things that we look at is the overall commercial impression that the mark makes on the consumer and commercial impression incorporates a lot of factors but one of those factors is the way the mark sounds so when we say things like happy day we don't know whether or not there is a space between the words happy and day it just sounds exactly the same as happy space day because we don't walk around putting spaces in between the words of our of our speech that would be a little bit weird we would half space two-space go space around space i think you see what i'm saying so we would pronounce happy day one word the exact same way that we would pronounce happy day two words so the commercial impression the auditory commercial impression that the consumer would get would be exactly the same for those two marks in addition the consumer is likely unable to distinguish at first glance whether or not the words actually have a space at all it would depend upon how the words were presented to the consumer as well so in this case assuming the goods are related and assuming a mark like happy day this trademark application assuming a so we have a junior mark that's being applied for in a senior mark that's already registered right so the junior mark if the goods were related and you can look at my other videos where i talk about this related goods issue because it's an important and often misunderstood issue if the goods are related and that means different things under trademark law and so if the goods are related and the marks convey a similar commercial impression then the application for the junior mark will be denied because it would be confusingly similar to a mark already on the record so i'm going to tag the person who asked this question um what was her name alyssa burton i'm going to tag her in this video so she knows i answered her question if you have trademark questions please drop them in the comments below i will answer them in a future live video you can find me online at trademarkdoctor.net on youtube just go search trademarkdoctor and you'll find hundreds of videos that i've produced live there and you can also find me online i'm sorry on facebook at facebook.com forward slash trademark doctor
Thanks Dorris your participation is very much appreciated
- Randal Shuttlesworth
About the author
I've studied environmental chemistry at Fort Lewis College in Durango and I am an expert in economic value. I usually feel alone. My previous job was hand sewer I held this position for 21 years, I love talking about video editing and songwriting. Huge fan of Diane Ladd I practice kayaking and collect hockey cards.
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