“Trademark” as a trademark?January 12, 2007

Can the word "trademark" be a trademark itself? Breckenridge Brewery sells Trademark Pale Ale, which raises this interesting issue. Images of Breckenridge's packaging can be seen below:

Under trademark law, there is no restriction on use of "trademark" as a trademark, as long as it meets the statutory requirements. For example, a search of USPTO records indicates that there are 131 live applications and registrations that incorporate the word "trademark" in some way, although only seven are for the word "trademark" alone. Three of these are registered, and they range in goods from laboratory cabinets to computers to floor finish. As these goods do not appear to have anything to do with trademarks, use of "trademark" as a trademark for these goods would likely be considered arbitrary, and thus make the marks relatively strong.

So, when considering what trademark to select, the question may actually end up being the answer.

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