question.jpgIn Trademarks

What is a generic mark?

There are several categories that are used in referring to a mark. One of these categories is known as “generic.” A mark that is generic cannot be protected as a trademark because it describes a whole group of goods or services and cannot distinguish one product within the group from another, providing any indication of source. Some marks were, at one time, protectable as trademarks but have since become generic (this is known as “genericide”) and are no longer protectable. Famous examples of such once- protected but now generic marks include ASPIRIN and ESCALATOR. The GOOGLE mark is dangerously close to becoming generic, particularly as it has started to show up in dictionaries.

In addition to generic marks, the other relevant categories of marks are arbitrary or fanciful marks, suggestive marks and descriptive marks.