Secondary Meaning

Descriptive marks can be protected if they have acquired secondary meaning. Secondary meaning is achieved when relevant consumers come to identify a mark with a certain product or service over time. When this happens, a descriptive mark that a business would not have been able to register initially, because it related to the class of products and not the specific brand, may achieve protected trademark status.

A secondary meaning survey typically seeks to assess whether relevant consumers associate a trademark or trade dress with a single source. If relevant consumers associate the mark with a single source (rather than associating the mark with the class of products as a whole), this provides strong evidence that the mark has acquired secondary meaning.

Applied Marketing Science (AMS) regularly conducts surveys to determine whether a word, name, slogan, symbol, design, or combination of these elements has acquired secondary meaning. Our secondary meaning surveys have been submitted and accepted as evidence in litigation matters involving a broad range of products and services.

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Robert L. Klein, S.M.
Chairman and Co-Founder
Applied Marketing Science
Brian M. Sowers, M.B.A.
Principal
Applied Marketing Science
Steven Gaskin, S.M.
Consultant
Applied Marketing Science
Ravi Dhar, Ph.D.
George Rogers Clark Professor of Marketing
Yale School of Management

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