Acronyms as Trademarks

Last week a client contacted me and explained that many of its marketing materials refer to the company by its acronym rather than its full name.  The client asked me about the pros and cons of registering the acronym as a trademark.

Almost on cue, after the call my email inbox received a message about a new article by my colleague Seth Kramer entitled “Use of Acronyms as Trademarks and Domain Names.”  The article, published in the May 8, 2012 edition of the Legal Intelligencer, includes some important factors for companies to consider before registering an acronym as a trademark:

For starters, the company must actually use the acronym to distinguish its goods or services from those provided by others and indicate their source.  Moreover, the acronym itself must have sufficient distinctiveness.

In addition, the article notes that “[i]n the context of acronyms, it is important to note that a trademark’s strength is determined not by the acronym itself, but by the term it signifies.”

The article is available on the Legal Intelligencer website, linked here.  (Subscription may be required for the full article.)

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