A trademark is generic when it is used to identify a category as a whole rather than identify the source for a specific product or service. Generic marks therefore, fail to merit trademark protection. Even marks that have trademark protection may lose it if, through extensive use by other brands within the category, they become associated with a category rather than a specific brand.
A genericness survey typically seeks to assess whether relevant consumers consider a mark to be a common name or design, or a brand name or design. If consumers believe the mark is a common name (rather than associating it with a specific product or service), it provides strong evidence that the mark is generic. Similarly, if consumers believe the mark is associated with a single brand, the evidence is strong that the mark is not generic.
Ms. Harper regularly conducts surveys to evaluate whether or not a trademark or trade dress is generic. Her genericness surveys have been submitted and accepted as evidence in litigation matters involving a broad range of products and services.