What is descriptiveness?

Photo of Igor Demcak

Written by Igor Demcak

Founder & Trademark Attorney

In trademark law, descriptiveness is a term used to denote a mark that doesn't show sufficient distinctiveness and is merely descriptive of the goods/services provided under the given brand. "Yoga house" or "HairPro" would be examples of descriptive marks.

In simple terms, descriptive trademarks lack uniqueness that would help distinguish the brand from other brands or generic names. Therefore, the IP offices generally refuse descriptive trademarks.

It is important to note that descriptiveness is assessed in relation to the brand's offering. For example, the brand name "Apple store" would be considered descriptive if the store sold groceries. However, the same name is unique in connection to electronics.

It is highly recommended to get a professional opinion on the possibility of having a descriptive logo or a brand name before filing an application to the IP office to reduce the risk of refusal.

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