When a trademark that is descriptive has been continuously and exclusively used for over five years and has gained recognition by the public associating it with a particular set of services and goods, it might obtain "acquired distinctiveness".
There are six most important factors evaluated when speaking of acquiring distinctiveness:
- association of the mark with a particular source by the relevant consumers (measured by consumer surveys or consumer studies);
- length, degree and exclusivity of use;
- amount and manner of advertising;
- number of sales and customers;
- intentional copying;
- unsolicited media coverage of the product embodying the mark.
One of the essential and well-known cases regarding this topic was the McDonald's phrase "I'm lovin' it", first published to build the association with McDonald's products and eventually gaining recognition.