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What are some things that can’t be trademarked? 

On Behalf of | May 8, 2023 | Trademarks

You know that trademarks can certainly help protect your intellectual property. If someone else attempts to infringe on it, holding the trademark gives you a legal way to push back against this illegal use. This is very important in a competitive global marketplace where brand identity is closely tied to sales and success.

But don’t assume that you can trademark anything that you want. Below are a few things that cannot be trademarked.

It creates consumer confusion

First of all, your mark cannot be similar to another trademark that has already been established, at least not if it’s going to create consumer confusion. This generally just happens when both businesses work in a similar industry. If you’re starting a business, it’s a good idea to consider other local trademarks so that you know what to avoid.

It is too generic

Additionally, you can’t trademark things that are so generic that they’re used by everyone. An example of this would be if a company tried to trademark the word “hamburger.” Many different restaurants sell hamburgers and are allowed to use this word to describe their food without infringing on another company’s rights.

But what about Apple?

The big question people ask when they hear about generic trademarks is why the tech company Apple gets to have its trademark. Isn’t an “apple” just a generic term for a type of fruit? It is, but Apple was granted an arbitrary trademark because the company doesn’t actually work with the fruit. An apple farm could not trademark the word apple, but the tech company could. These are the kind of loopholes that are sometimes difficult to understand.

Getting proper trademarks is very important for your business, as is defending them. Be sure you know exactly what legal options you have.