What is a Suggestive Trademark?

traverselegal - January 12, 2012 - Trademark Basics, Trademark Law


Welcome to Trademark Law Radio, a top web resource on issues of trademark infringement, trademark licensing, trademark protection, and trademark registration.

This is Brian Hall, an attorney with Traverse Legal, PLC, a trademark law firm representing clients and trademark applications with the United States Patent and Trademark Office and trademark related litigation and matters throughout the United States. Today, I will be answering the question:  “What is a suggestive trademark?”

In the past, I touched upon what a generic trademark is and what a descriptive trademark is.  Both of those marks are not inherently distinctive and not entitled to all the benefits that go along with a trademark, namely, the exclusive right to use that particular mark in connection with goods or services that you sell under that mark.

Today, I will be focusing upon what is an inherently distinctive mark and therefore, subject to the protections, and that is known as a suggestive trademark.  A suggestive trademark is a word that suggests as opposed to merely describes the ingredients or characteristics of the products or services and requires the consumer to use imagination and perception to determine what the actual goods or services are.  So, with a descriptive trademark, it is very easy to determine what the particular mark refers to, whereas, with a suggestive trademark, there needs to be that leap in that consumer’s mind as to what the goods or services actually are.  An example would be Tumblebus, which is a trademark for mobile gym on wheels.  At first glance, it’s not entirely certain what that could refer to, either a good or service.  But, after identifying what the mark is, and what the goods and services are, it becomes understandable that it is a mark for a mobile gym on wheels.

These types of marks are, as I said at the outset, entitled to protection because they are inherently distinctive.  They, therefore, are relatively strong marks that serve their owners well in the event that a trademark infringement, cybersquatting or other trademark related issue arises because in all of those instances, the strength of a trademark is to be considered.

So, whether you are looking to choose a particular mark or you are debating between a couple for a new product or service, it’s important to know how strong your mark will be.  A qualified trademark lawyer who has experience in these areas, and can look at how cases have determined the strength of marks in the past, can better advise you as to the strength of your mark.

So, once again, this has been Brian Hall answer your question:  “What is a suggestive trademark?”

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This page has been written, edited, and reviewed by a team of legal writers following our comprehensive editorial guidelines. This page was approved by attorney Enrico Schaefer, who has more than 20 years of legal experience as a practicing Business, IP, and Technology Law litigation attorney.