Telescoped Trademarks

Picking a trademark is an incredibly trademarkimportant part of starting a business or bringing a new product line to market. The ability to protect the mark depends on its distinctiveness. Some marks are generic or descriptive, while others are highly distinctive. Distinctive marks are entitled to protection as registered trademarks. Telescoped trademarks are often registrable marks.

Some marks have registrable components and unregistrable components. For instance, TOM’S COOKIES used with my awesome chocolate-chip cookies has a registrable component (TOM’S) and an unregistrable component (COOKIES). COOKIES is unregistrable because describes the products I sell, but TOM’S has nothing to do with the product. When a mark has an unregistrable component, that component generally has to be disclaimed, and the trademark owner will claim no part of that mark as it may appear apart from the mark.

In some cases, those marks are considered “unitary,” and the unregistrable component is an integral part of the commercial impression that the whole mark creates. For example, a descriptive word can be combined with nondescriptive wording in such a way that the descriptive significance of the word in relation to the goods is lost and the combination functions as a unit. This happens when the combination itself has a new meaning. An example is the term “Black Magic,” which has a distinct meaning of its own as a whole. The word “black” is not intended to have color significance in relation to the goods, and should not be disclaimed even if the mark is applied to goods that are black in color.

A telescoped trademark is always considered unitary and often considered to be registrable. A telescoped trademark is one which has two words which share a letter. Sort of like Wheel of Fortune’s Before and After. Examples are HAMERICAN, ORDERECORDER, SUPERINSE, VITAMINSURANCE, and POLLENERGY. Telescoped words make excellent choices for a trademark, however, some can still provide problems, so please consult a trademark attorney before a trademark is settled on.

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