How should I determine whether a descriptive mark can be trademarked? 4 Answers as of November 16, 2010

I am just starting to market a product and want to come up with a name that I can trademark. As an example, if I used the name Lightning Roller for a paint roller that could spread paint quickly, would I be able to trademark it? This is just an example, not my product, but I am trying to get an idea of whether the name I have in mind will be usable or is too much in the public domain already.

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Devon & Associates
Devon & Associates | Marcia A. Devon
I would characterize your proposed trademark as "suggestive" rather than descriptive. Suggestive marks may be registered and often make the best trademarks. I recommend doing a search to see if any one else has applied for the same or similar trademark.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 11/16/2010
Mark S. Hubert PC
Mark S. Hubert PC | Mark Hubert
If it is merely descriptive of the product then it cannot be trademarked. It would take a very long explanation to explain to you what can and cant be trademarked with examples and then to look at your proposed mark. Consult a trademark attorney.
Answer Applies to: Oregon
Replied: 11/16/2010
Fish & Associates, PC
Fish & Associates, PC | Robert D. Fish
First, one doesn't trademark a mark. One can register a trademark, but trademark rights accrue from use, not registration. In a similar vein, one doesn't copyright a work. Copyrights are created as soon as an original work is reduced to a tangible medium of expression. One merely registers the copyright that already exists. With that clarification out of the way, descriptive marks can be registered on the secondary register, and then after five years the owner of the mark can petition the trademark office to move the mark from the secondary to the primary register. In your particular case, LIGHTNING ROLLER is probably suggestive, not descriptive for paint rollers. If the mark is registrable then it would probably be placed on the primary register.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 11/16/2010
Law Offices of Juan Dotson
Law Offices of Juan Dotson | Juan Dotson
Sorry, I think this question is too vague. It is up to the USPTO to determine whether a descriptive mark can be trademarked. A consultation with an attorney would give you the best information about your chances with the USPTO. Providing general guidelines in a vacuum is generally ineffective.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 11/15/2010
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