Legal Ramifications – Trademarks III – How to create strong trademark rights

It’s funny, but not all trademarks are created equal.

There are strong marks and there are weak marks and all kinds of marks in between.

When you first use your trademark – for your blog for example – the strongest mark will be something that doesn’t have anything to do with blogging or publishing or the subject of your blog.  That is because the audience, your customers, will not associate it with your publishing services.

So, if I am picking a trademark for my blog on law and social media, I might call it FLEETWOOD.  That would be a strong mark because it is arbitrary for the subject and no one in the public needs it  for their own use.

Think of gasoline for example.  If you called your gas, say EXXON, that’s a pretty strong mark because it doesn’t mean anything and the public doesn’t need it.  If I sold my gas under the mark PRETTY GOOD GASOLINE, well – you get the picture.

Now you can develop trademark rights to a “descriptive mark,” but it will take time for the public, through use and advertising to come to recognize your descriptive term as a trademark.

As a blogger you might WANT to use a descriptive term as the name of your blog because, in fact, you want your readers to know exactly what it is.  For example, for my ning site on social media and the law, I called it LAW AND SOCIAL NETWORKING.  Not a strong mark, in fact, a very weak one.  But it was more important for me to let people know what I was doing than to claim the title as a trademark.

Later, as I build up rights to the term, I might be able to stop someone from using the exact title as a blog title for their blog – but it will probably take time.

So – when naming your blog, it’s really up to you.  Strong or weak, you choose.