How to Choose a Strong Trademark

Imagine you are lounging in your chair, gazing at your laptop screen — the modern-day business owner, always looking for avenues to stand out from the crowd and set your business apart from the sea of providers in your niche.

Your current focus? Your business's trademark.

As an astute business owner, you understand the weight of your decision. The right trademark will make your brand distinct and memorable, while the wrong one could precipitate a cascade of legal challenges.

Fret not. In this blog, you will find actionable tips to consider when choosing a trademark for your business. Have a read below:

Choosing the Right Trademark

A trademark is like a signature for your business; it represents its identity and gives it credibility. It makes your business stand out from its competitors and deters others from using any trademark that might be similar to yours. And for that to happen, it must be distinctive and memorable.

The Spectrum of Distinctiveness

The spectrum of distinctiveness is a doctrine in US trademark law that determines how well a trademark can be protected. You must understand it if you are to choose the right trademark for your business.

Accordingly, the spectrum of distinctiveness has several levels, each representing a stronger trademark than the last. Here is a simplified breakdown:

Generic Trademarks

The first and weakest level of the spectrum of distinctiveness is generic trademarks. It comprises common words and phrases that describe the character of the service. Most generic words cannot be registered as trademarks.


It’s because they fail to satisfy the overarching goal of any trademark, distinguishing a brand. They are common words that refer to the general class of goods or services, a feature that simply can't make your trademark stand out.

So, if your idea for a trademark comprises a word that is too common and descriptive of your goods or services, you must return to the drawing board and reconsider. Take, for instance, a business owner who wants to trademark the name "Super Computer" for a new line of laptops. The term "Super Computer" is highly generic and broadly describes the nature and quality of the product. It lacks the uniqueness and distinctiveness required for trademark protection. In this scenario, the business owner should brainstorm a more creative and distinctive name, like "TechNova Laptops" or "FuturoTech," which can be more easily trademarked because they do not merely describe the product but also possess a unique identity.

Suggestive Trademarks

The second level is suggestive trademarks. While these trademarks are generally stronger than generic trademarks, they are considered weak as they suggest (not describe) the characteristics or nature of your goods and services.

We all know of household suggestive trademarks like Microsoft (suggesting software for microcomputers) and Netflix (suggesting movies from the internet). Does this mean that you should settle for suggestive trademarks for your business?

Well, these trademarks became distinctive because the business owners poured tens of millions of dollars into marketing. Even a weak trademark can be strong if you pour enough money into it.

Arbitrary Trademarks

Now, we enter the realm of strong trademarks, poised to make their owners' brands as unique as a fingerprint in a sea of hands. Arbitrary trademarks comprise words or phrases with dictionary meanings, but these meanings have no connections to the business.

A good example is "Amazon," the trademark for the retail giant, We know Amazon as the longest river in the world; this word has no connection to the retail giant of the same name. Yet it is this lack of correlation that makes it a strong arbitrary trademark.

Coined Trademarks

Closing off the spectrum of distinctiveness category are coined trademarks. As you can infer from the name, these trademarks consist of made-up terms. These words have no dictionary definition, and neither do they have any relationship to the business.

A good example is Kodak, a renowned brand of photography and imaging products. Kodak itself is not an English word; it has no dictionary definition, and neither does it suggest anything about the business. But it is unique, easy to pronounce, and easy to remember, which has worked in the company's favor.


With this information in mind, you are now better positioned to choose the right trademark for your business. Once your mind is set, you can start the process of registering your trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Check out our blog explaining how this process works. All the best in your business endeavors!

Are you wondering about any of the issues mentioned above? Please email us at or call (732) 410-7595 for assistance.

At Wilkinson Law, we give business owners the documents and advice they desperately need to fund, grow, protect, and sell their businesses. We are trustworthy business advisors keeping your business on TRACK: Trustworthy. Reliable. Available. Caring. Knowledgeable. ®

Categories: Trademark Law