A real apple next to the Apple logo on a computer

Apple vs. APPLE – The Spectrum of Trademark Distinctiveness

During a recent discussion with a non-lawyer about trademarks, I explained the so-called “spectrum of trademark distinctiveness” and used APPLE as an example of an arbitrary mark. The person responded, “Wait, you can trademark that?”. The question caught me off guard since I assumed everyone knew that APPLE was arguably the most valuable trademark in the world. Well, to paraphrase Ted Lasso, you know what they say when you assume? You make an "arse" out of you and me. So let’s go back to the basics. When creating a trademark for your brand, product, or service, it’s important to understand [...]
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As Generic as Apple Pie

It’s Fourth of July Weekend! Or should I say, “Happy Birthday ‘Merica!” You probably already know you cannot register a generic term for a product or service. In other words, you cannot use a trademark registration to prevent others from using the term “apple pie” to refer to apple pie. But did you know that distinctive trademarks can become generic if they become too successful? Trademark owners can lose their rights if their trademarks become too commonly used. Have you ever had a headache and used ASPIRIN? Needed to go up a tall building and used the ESCALATOR? These marks, [...]
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