Distinctive character

A trademark’s most important function is to distinguish the goods and services from goods and services sold by other companies.

For instance, a trademark must not merely describe the goods and services sold under the trademark. One example is that everyone selling coffee must have the right to use words like dark roast and fine-grind in their marketing.

Original distinctive character 

A trademark can have what is called original distinctive character. This means that the design of the trademark is, in itself, sufficient to be able to distinguish the trademark holder’s goods and services from those of other companies.  

Acquired distinctive character 

A trademark can also have acquired distinctive character. This means that a trademark has been used for a long enough time and to so great an extent that consumers view the mark as a distinctive feature of the goods and services and that it therefore functions as a trademark.

Proving acquired distinctive character