question.jpgIn Trademarks

What is a descriptive mark?

There are several categories that are used in referring to a mark. One of these categories is known as “descriptive.” A mark that is descriptive simply describes some quality or characteristic of the goods and services. As such, descriptive marks are never inherently distinctive and the mark’s owner must show that the descriptive mark has acquired secondary meaning in order to be entitled to protection of that mark. During the time that a trademark owner is working to build up secondary meaning for a descriptive mark, the mark may still be federally registered, although this registration will be on the Supplemental Register rather than the Principal Register.

Marks which are arguably descriptive but which have since acquired the necessary secondary meaning include WINDOWS (for computer software using windows) and SHARP (for televisions).

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