Inherent Distinctiveness Law and Legal Definition

Marks that are inherently distinctive are those that have the ability upon being used the very first time to communicate to the consumer that the mark is identifying the source of the product as opposed to describing the product itself. A mark can be inherently distinctive, or it can acquire distinctiveness over time. An inherently distinctive trademark is stronger than a mark that is often used by others or that is merely descriptive, generic, or has other descriptiveness issues. When a mark includes words or symbols related to the good or service, the consumer will be confused and think that the mark is actually identifying or describing the product itself. Fanciful, arbitrary and suggestive marks are all inherently distinctive, while descriptive and generic marks are not inherently distinctive. An inherently distinctive trademark may be registered on the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Trademark Principal Register.