What Makes Strong or Weak Trademarks?

The strength of a trademark is related to a factor called “distinctiveness”. A trademark is not very distinctive, and is therefore a weak one, if it is descriptive of the goods or services, a surname, initials or constitutes words commonly used in conjunction with the goods or services. Adopting unconventional spelling of words usually doesn’t help. Such marks make little impact on the mind of the consumer and therefore do not adequately direct him or her to goods or services of one person rather than competitors. However, such marks can become distinctive, and therefore valuable, by extensive use and advertising.
The most distinctive type of trademark is an arbitrary word without meaning such as KODAK. Such trademarks become strongest after extensive usage. Use of such marks by others on any goods or services likely would be trademark infringement.
However, many trademark owners do not like arbitrary or meaningless words because they initially create no favourable impression in the mind of the consumer. This may be very important from a marketing point of view, at least until a mark becomes well known. For this reason, the best compromise is usually a trademark which suggests some favourable characteristic of the product or service but does not clearly describe it.