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Acquired Secondary Meaning

This lesson builds on the concepts that you may have been introduced to in Professor Robert Lind's lesson on the classification of marks, e.g., generic marks, descriptive marks, suggestive marks, arbitrary marks, and fanciful marks. Specifically, this lesson will concentrate on the validity of a mark for trademark protection purposes when the trademark or trade dress is not inherently distinctive. So, after completing this lesson, you should be able to identify and then analyze when a trademark or trade dress may receive trademark protection even though the mark or dress is not inherently distinctive. For your information, in most respects trademarks and trade dress are treated similarly, if not the same, by the Lanham Act. In only a few evidentiary situations will trademarks and trade dress be distinguished; for example, when determining whether a source identifier is inherently distinctive or not. This principle will be explained fully in the Trade Dress lesson.

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