FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS Can I Trademark Dictionary Words?

Can you trademark common words found in a dictionary?

Check out the answer on the short video below:



Is it possible to trademark dictionary words? My name is Andrei Mincov, I'm the founder of Trademark Factory and in this video, I'm going to answer this very question.

The short answer to the question of whether you can trademark dictionary words—words that you can find in any dictionary, words that are common to the language is...ABSOLUTELY YES.

You can and really, the best example of that is Apple. You can't find a more common word than that. Yet Apple, of course, is a very valuable trademark. How were they able to trademark it well? Because they're not in the business of selling apples! You see if they wanted to sell apples, of course, they couldn't trademark the word "Apple" because that's not what trademarks are for, but since they're selling something has nothing to do with the fruit—they sell computers, phones, software, tablets (all that kind of stuff that has nothing to do with the fruit) that's why they are allowed to use the dictionary words as their name and get it trademarked.

You see, the most common misconception around trademarks is that you need to have something completely unique. You don't,  and I see all those people who say "how can you monopolize the word? Let's trademark the alphabet!" That's not how it works. You're not expected, with trademarks, to always come up with new words that hadn't existed before. That's not what it's about what this is about is allowing the market to tell your products and services apart from everybody else's products and services of the same type and if your brand allows you to do that then it's a proper brand for getting it trademarked.

Apple, once again, is a perfect example. Once you hear the word "Apple" in connection to phones or computers or laptops, you know exactly who makes those phones computers, and laptops and that makes it perfectly trademarkable. Canon, for cameras—they're not selling cannons like the war machines. They sell cameras and because of that, they can use the dictionary word "Canon" as their brand as their trademark and there are millions of other trademarks that are nothing but dictionary words. But it's the combination of those dictionary words, and specific products and services that they sell that make them trademarkable.

But for example, if you were in the business of selling pencils, you can't trademark the word "Pencil" because that would be a generic name and generic names are not trademarkable. So that's how this works, there's nothing wrong with trademarking dictionary words as long as the name still allows the market to distinguish you from your competition. So if you came up with a brand that's just a dictionary word don't let that necessarily discourage you from trying to trademark it—as long as the name is not the actual name of your products or service, it could be trademarkable.

The way to move forward is for you to go to and book your free call with one of our strategy advisors. And once you become a client, our legal team is going to do the searches and come up with a registrability opinion, and let you know if the name you came up with is trademarkable. And if it is we're going to help you get this done with a guaranteed result for a guaranteed budget. And if we tell you the name is not trademarkable then you can either get a full refund, or you can do what most of our clients do, which is keep sending us other variants until you pick a brand that you love that we tell you is trademarkable.

Because there's no reason in the world to spend a minute of your life, or a dollar out of your pocket building a brand that you don't own. Again, whether it's a dictionary word or a unique word, you got to protect your brand. That's how it becomes an asset. That's how it becomes yours. Without it, all you're doing is building a brand for someone else.

Disclaimer: Please note that this post and this video are not and are not intended as legal advice. Your situation may be different from the facts assumed in this post or video. Your reading this post or watching this video does not create a lawyer-client relationship between you and Trademark Factory International Inc., and you should not rely on this post or this video as the only source of information to make important decisions about your intellectual property.