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The law does not afford much protection to trademarks that consist of common or ordinary words because they are not inherently distinctive. Examples of trademarks that might receive little protection include a person’s name, geographical terms, and descriptive terms, i.e. terms used to describe the product or service. Nevertheless, such marks can be protected if they gain distinctive recognition through long use and marketing.

Trademarks cannot be protected on marks that are not used, or abandoned, on generic terms describing a type of good or service, a mark that is very similar to another mark – so much so that it causes confusion – weak trademarks, and functional features of a product.

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