Why is a strong mark better?
Minneapolis trademark attorney Jennifer Debrow discusses why strong marks are better than weak marks.
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A strong mark is better because when you’re selecting a mark, when you’re trying to create a new brand, a new name for your company or a new brand, choosing something on the farther end of that distinctiveness spectrum – an arbitrary mark, a suggestive mark, or a fanciful mark – is gonna be better because you’re gonna have less likelihood of having an infringement claim from a third party if you can find a mark that’s more unique.
The other reason it would be valuable is that you have a greater scope of protection, really, a broader scope of protection. Once you start using the mark and you have trademark rights, your ability to stop third parties from using similar marks with similar goods and services is gonna be greater the stronger your mark is. So those are important reasons to have a stronger mark. And a lot of times, people don’t want a strong mark. They want a descriptive mark because they want the consumer to know right away what the product is, and in that case, I really suggest combining a strong mark with a descriptive word.
So Caribou Coffee is a great example of that. Caribou was an arbitrary mark, very strong, for use of coffee, but they use coffee in the mark as well, so that when you see Caribou Coffee on a signage, you know, “Okay, I can go there and get a cup of coffee.” So you’re both educating the consumer with, “This is a coffee shop,” and also, having a very strong mark, Caribou.