What is a trademark?• Simply put, its a brand name. More formally, its "a word, phrase, symbol or design, or a combination of words, phrases, symbols or designs, that identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods of one party from those of others." A service mark identifies a service rather than a product.
What can be trademarked?• Trademark registration can be granted on distinctive names, logos and slogans. Marks may be inherently distinctive because they are original and unique, or may become a strong mark over time or as a result of a marketing campaign.
Kinds of Trademarks• Suggestive or evocative marks - made-up words that suggest or evoke qualities of the product or service (Slim-Fast, Expedia)• Coined or fanciful marks - arbitrary made-up words (Exxon, Kleenex, Viagra)• Arbitrary marks - words that are surprising or unexpected in the context of their use (Sprite soft drink, Amazon online bookstore)• Unique logos or symbols - distinctive typography or artwork (McDonalds golden arches, the Playboy bunny, IBMs logo)
Concept of Family of Marks• The trademark series or family of marks comprises a string of marks with an intention of having a particular distinctive ingredient function as a point of identification for the pertinent public. In this manner, certain mark elements can be afforded higher level of protection by registering them all within one application and using several marks containing a common element, thus acquiring exclusive right over them, and distinctiveness through prior use.
Example of family of marks• ‘McDonald’s has established a series of ‘Mc’ word marks. Examples of the McDonald’s family of trademarks include ‘McDONALD’S,’ McDONALD’S HAMBURGERS,’ ‘EGG McMUFFIN,’ ‘McCHICKEN,’ ‘McDONUTS,’ ‘BIG MAC,’ ‘McPIZZA,’ ‘McCAFE,’ ‘CHICKEN McNUGGETS,’ ‘McDOUBLE’ ‘CHICKEN McBITES’ and many others’ .
Every trademark in the series must fall within the category or description of thesame goods or services;• This is a fundamental requirement of a trademark series application. It is likely that two sets of goods may be of the same depiction, even if such fall in different classes, but in this case also, all the marks shall not be granted registration as a series in one application.• It is to be noted that, this is not a settled position of law, and one may be required to register separately for multiple products and services.