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Laudatory Trademarks

Are Laudatory Trademarks A Good Idea? Let’s Explore

Lindokuhle Mkhize

Lindokuhle Mkhize

17 August 20233 min read

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Laudatory trademarks

Laudatory trademarks can be a powerful tool for enhancing your brand’s image and differentiating yourself from competitors. In this article, we’ll explore how laudatory trademarks can benefit your business and provide guidance on the registration process, risks, and costs involved.

Understanding laudatory marks

Laudatory trademarks utilize positive and descriptive words or phrases to create a favorable association with your brand in the minds of consumers. 

Think: “Happy Pets” for a pet store. 

By highlighting the quality and superiority of your offerings, you can establish a distinct image for your brand. In the case of Happy Pets, it conveys an impression of animals that are well taken care of. 

 A laudatory mark represents a brand’s commitment to quality. In this case, the store is committed to ensuring the well-being of its animals. 

To select one for your brand:

  1. Conduct research to identify those terms that align with your brand values.
  2. Ask yourself what resonates with your target market.
  3. Strive for unique words that reflect your brand’s unique selling points.

The benefits of laudatory trademarks

Laudatory trademarks offer several benefits for your brand:

  1. Brand differentiation: laudatory terms can help you stand out in a crowded marketplace. By emphasizing the qualities of your products or services, you create a distinct identity that resonates with consumers. Who wouldn’t want to go to Happy Pets? It’s so inviting!
  2. Enhanced brand image: laudatory terms contribute to building trust and credibility with your audience. Customers who associate your brand with positive attributes are more likely to develop loyalty toward your business.
  3. Emotional connection: by leveraging a laudatory term, you tap into consumers’ emotions. Positive associations create an emotional bond between your brand and its target audience, fostering long-term relationships.

The registration process

To create a successful laudatory trademark, you must meet the distinctiveness criteria set by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

This includes selecting an inherently distinctive product feature to associate with the laudatory mark and researching potential competitors who may use similar marks. Once registered, you can enforce the usage of your laudatory mark and prevent others from infringing on your brand’s identity.

You must go through the trademark application process to receive federal protection for your laudatory mark. This entails submitting a comprehensive application to the USPTO and satisfying all registration-related legal requirements.

As I’ve said, this includes distinctiveness, but you must also meet the non-confusion and permissible usage criterion. You can learn more about this on the USPTO

Consider consulting a professional to navigate the nuances of the application process effectively.

The risks and costs

While a laudatory term provides numerous benefits, it’s essential to consider the associated risks and costs.

Laudatory trademarks are generally considered weak as a descriptive type of trademark. This may limit their legal strength and require additional measures for protection.

In addition, maintaining a laudatory trademark, like any other trademark, requires ongoing renewal fees. These costs should be factored into your overall marketing budget.

Are laudatory marks worth it? It depends.

Depending on your business, it may or may not be a good idea to register a laudatory trademark. While they are generally considered weak because they’d be regarded as descriptive marks, they do come with the benefit of creating a positive association in the minds of your customers. 

It’s always a give and take, isn’t it?

Learn more about the interesting things you can trademark — 4 Things You Can Trademark (Other Than a Logo, Name or Slogan).


What are the four types of trademarks?

There are four categories of trademarks: generic, descriptive, suggestive, arbitrary, or fanciful. Generics are the weakest trademarks as these are words such as “boat” for a boat shop. Fanciful trademarks include made-up words such as Adidas. 

What are descriptive and laudatory words?

Laudatory words praise the quality or characteristics of goods or services on offer. Descriptive words, on the other hand, merely describe them. 

Are laudatory terms positive or negative?

Laudatory relates to praise. When someone speaks laudatory words over you, these are positive. 

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Lindokuhle Mkhize, a skilled creative copywriter and content lead at Trademarkia, brings a wealth of experience in driving innovation and managing teams. With previous success in starting and growing the Innovation and Marketing department at her former creative agency, Lindokuhle boasts expertise in leadership and delivering compelling content. Based in South Africa, Lindokuhle's work focuses on key themes of creativity, effective communication, and strategic marketing.