Abercrombie Classification Law and Legal Definition

Abercrombie Classification is a characterization scheme of trademark designations. This standard was set in the case Abercrombie & Fitch Co. v. Hunting World, Inc., 537 F.2d 4 (2d Cir. N.Y. 1976).The Abercrombie spectrum categorizes trade marks according to whether they are generic, descriptive, suggestive, arbitrary or fanciful. This ascending order roughly reflects their eligibility to trademark status and the degree of protection accorded. The lines of demarcation, however, are not always bright. Moreover, difficulties may arise because a term that is in one category for a particular product may be in quite a different one for another. This happens when a term shifts from one category to another in light of differences in usage through time or when a term may have one meaning to one group of users and a different one to others or when the same term may be put to different uses with respect to a single product. Generic words are never afforded any trade mark protection.