Descriptive marks can be protected if they have acquired secondary meaning. Secondary meaning is achieved when relevant consumers come to identify a mark with a certain product or service over time. When this happens, a descriptive mark that a business would not have been able to register initially, because it related to the class of products and not the specific brand, may achieve protected trademark status.
A secondary meaning survey typically seeks to assess whether relevant consumers associate a trademark or trade dress with a single source. If relevant consumers associate the mark with a single source (rather than associating the mark with the class of products as a whole), this provides strong evidence that the mark has acquired secondary meaning.
Ms. Rhonda Harper regularly conducts surveys to determine whether a word, name, slogan, symbol, design, or combination of these elements has acquired secondary meaning. Her secondary meaning surveys have been submitted and accepted as evidence in litigation matters involving a broad range of products and services.
Descriptive marks are not ordinarily protectable as trademarks unless they have acquired a secondary meaning. Ms. Harper has conducted many surveys to determine if a trademark has acquired secondary meaning.