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[–] 3836827? 1 points -1 points (+0|-1) ago  (edited ago)

A potential trademark may be classified as (1) generic, (2) descriptive, (3) suggestive, or (4) arbitrary or fanciful.

A term is generic when it is considered the common name for a product or service in its class. For example, a car is a car, and nobody can trademark the term "car" with respect to a car.

A term is descriptive when it is considered a plainly descriptive name for the product or service. For example, the term "Vision Center" was considered descriptive of a location that dealt primarily with vision related products.

A term is considered suggestive when it suggests, rather than describes, some particular characteristic of the goods or services to which it applies and requires the consumer to exercise the imagination in order to draw a conclusion as to the nature of the goods and services. One example of this is "Coppertone" sun tan lotion -- it suggests the copper tone of skin you'll have after sun tanning.

Finally a term is considered fanciful when it does not have any connection to the product or service in question.

A generic term can never attain trademark protection. Further, a previously trademarked term that becomes generic may lose trademark protection. This occurred with the term "Aspirin" and "Cellophane". They were found to have become generic, and thus trademark protection was cancelled.

A descriptive term generally cannot be protected by trademark protection. They may become valid marks, however, by acquiring a secondary meaning in the minds of the consuming public.

A suggestive term generally can be protected by trademark protection without any requirement to prove a secondary meaning.

A fanciful term is is the easiest to defend, as it has no common meaning relating to the good or service except the one you have prescribed it. One example of this is the term "Kodak" referring to cameras.

In this case, "Let's Play" is a generic term referring to the entire product category of streaming video. Sony did not create the term, it is not currently a leader in the term. There are presently 15 million videos on youtube with the term "Let's Play" in the title.

Sony is clearly in the wrong, and should not have been granted the trademark to the phrase "Let's Play" relating to streaming video.