Protection of Ingredients (Trademark) Law and Legal Definition

When an ingredient in a product is also used as a trademark, it can be protected as a trademark. If secured, federal trademark registration affords an invaluable commercial asset, affording business and marketing advantages as well as significant legal rights. To claim exclusive trademark rights to the coined name of an ingredient, the proposed mark must be newly coined and have no recognized meaning in the relevant trade or industry. If the proposed name is commonly used or recognized by others in the relevant trade, such as a generic name, common commercial name, or nonproprietary name or acronym, then no one party can claim exclusive trademark rights and the designation may be used freely by anyone.

To preserve potential trademark rights:

1. Create a generic name for the proprietary ingredient that all use, and then seek exclusive protection for a coined name for that same ingredient.

2. Highlight the coined name in text and on packaging through the use of a special font or stylization or lettering size, or even capital letters, sufficient to distinguish the coined name from surrounding text or other ingredients

3. Use advertisements to convey to consumers that the coined name has special source significance

4. Use trademark symbols, to highlight the trademark significance of the coined term