question.jpgIn Trademarks

What is a generic mark?

A generic mark is a mark which describes a whole group of goods or services and cannot distinguish one product within the group from another. Such generic marks cannot be protected as trademarks because they lack any ability to indicate a specific product’s source (for example, you could not trademark CARS to be used with the sale of a type of car). Some marks used to be 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, ESCALATOR and ZIPPER.

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