Is a different tensed or informal/slang version of a generic word still considered to be a generic trademark?

Asked over 1 year ago - Santa Clara, CA

The term is a shortened , informal way of saying the root word , is in a different tense , and is in the dictionary described as informal . The root word would be considered generic in connection with the service . Ex . ( if there WERE a " disrespecting " service or industry ) : Root : disrespect Informal / Slang : dis Action tenses : dissed , dissing

Attorney answers (5)

  1. Michael Charles Doland

    Contributor Level 20

    7

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Good question. However, it is impossible to analyze in the abstract. Some versions will be acceptable for registration, some not, More important than "generic" is the concept of "deceptively similar". More important than either is the product or service and your business model. I always counsel originality in names, not getting by on a technicality.

    The above is general legal and business analysis. It is not "legal advice" but analysis, and different lawyers may... more
  2. Daniel Nathan Ballard

    Contributor Level 20

    3

    Lawyers agree

    1

    Best Answer
    chosen by asker

    Answered . As a general rule, yes, the slang versions of a generic word are themselves generic. The Trademark Office, for example, uses the Urban Dictionary [see http://www.urbandictionary.com ], among others, when considering the meaning of slang. At the end of the day, if the relevant consumers would consider the word [in proper or slang form] the name of the thing being branded then that word is generic for that thing.

    The above is general information ONLY and is not legal advice, does not form an attorney-client relationship, and... more
  3. Frank Anthony Natoli

    Pro

    Contributor Level 19

    6

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Hi,

    I agree with my colleague, your question is a little too abstract. The USPTO considers how any given mark is used in the context of ordinary parlance.

    I suggest you discuss your particular objectives with a lawyer in private so the entire context can be understood.

    I will link you to some general TM info below and most of us here, including myself, offer a free phone consult.

    Best regards,
    Frank
    Natoli-Lapin, LLC
    (see Disclaimer)

    The law firm of Natoli-Lapin, LLC (Home of Lantern Legal Services) offers our flat-rate legal services in the... more
  4. J Scott Scarbrough

    Contributor Level 13

    2

    Lawyers agree

    1

    Answered . If the shortened word is inthe dictionary, then it is generic.

    But note that there are many generic words that are trademarked very successfully (e.g. Apple).

    Good luck.

    My disclaimer is simply that Avvo already has an adequate disclaimer.
  5. Maurice N Ross

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

    2

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . My guess is that it would still be generic even if used in a different tense or slang. But the devil is in the details and context. No lawyer could give you a meaningful answer without reviewing the actual word in the context in which you intend to use it.

    You should know that even lawyers and judges often disagree as to whether a word is generic, descriptive of fanciful----you certainly should not assume that there is a right or wrong answer. But if you are attempting to deal with a trademark application without retaining counsel, frankly you are wasting your money. Any trademark that you might get will probably be flawed and unenforceable. There is a reason that companies pay guys like me significant hourly fees to do this type of work---the lawyers bring the clients value because experienced counsel bring years of judgment to situations like this---and it is the experience and judgment that clients pay for when hiring a lawyer.

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