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Fanciful names are made up or invented to function as a trademark or service mark. Fanciful names used as trademarks are basically words comprised of a combination of letters that had no meaning prior to their use as a trademark (e.g., XEROX, PEPSI, NIKE, EXXON, & KODAK).

Trademarks, service marks & trade dresses are classified on a sliding scale, from weak to strong:

  • generic (the weakest)
  • descriptive;
  • suggestive;
  • “arbitrary, fanciful or unique” (the strongest).

A trademark’s strength increases as it moves toward the “suggestive or arbitrary” end of the scale. A distinctive mark requires a lesser or even no showing of “secondary meaning” to qualify for protection.

Fanciful words are inherently distinctive and immediately function as a trademark or service mark. Fanciful trademarks are afforded the greatest amount of protection and are ideal from a legal and a business standpoint because fanciful words are very likely to be allowed registration.

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