Strong Trademark? Is the mark really worth it?

Oct 17, 2014


This month a man in Alabama filed for a trademark to the phrase "Ebola Outbreak Map". I'm all for the quick response to trends but is this too far? Is it even worth it? For a trademark to be valuable there should be a market for the goods/services it represents and the chosen name needs to be strong enough to pass examination. I think this fails.


First, examinations and the eventual registration may take 18 months. Will Ebola be around by then? Will it be widespread to need a map? The world is hoping not. The market may not be there.


Secondly, to get a trademark registered, examination is required. The patent office looks to the class of goods and services the trademark is filed under and then compares the trademark to other similar marks. In this case, "Ebola Outbreak Map" is filed under one goods class (016) and three service classes (35, 39, 42). In each of those classes, the mark will be judged on a scale (so to speak) ranging from Generic ----> Descriptive ----> Suggestive ----> Arbitrary & Fanciful. Generic is not allowable for the most part, while Arbitrary & Fanciful are by far the simplest to get through (as long as you are unique). It is easy to pick a name for a product or service. It is not always easy to pick a good name or strong name. In my opinion this mark looks to be stuck around the Generic and Descriptive area. The chance of registering it is slim. Paying for 4 classes puts him out around $1300.


In the end, it appears as though the owner ran out and quickly grabbed a generic/descriptive name to register while assuming that Ebola will become a long term and widespread problem. Maybe it will, but for a trademark to be valuable there should be a market and strength in the name. Sadly the name appears weak and the market will hopefully collapse soon. Additionally, you will notice on the registration that the owner of the mark did not appear to hire an attorney and may not have even solicited advice from one. In my opinion, with an eye to the business realities of life, it is not worth pursuing this mark, even if worldwide catastrophic outbreaks occur beyond the 18 months. The name should have been made less Generic and Descriptive. Best if he just talked to an attorney.


Lesson Learned: Quick actions are good but uneducated hastiness is costly.


Here is the link

Fort Worth/Arlington Office
1701 E. Lamar Blvd.,
Suite 155
Arlington, TX 76006
Fax: 888-908-6679
Dallas Office
3838 Oak Lawn Ave,
Suite 1000
Dallas, TX 75219
Fax: 888-908-6679

( By Appointment Only)

Houston Office
100 Glenborough Dr., STE 428
Houston, TX 77067
Fax: 888-908-6679
Pay Your Invoice with LawPay
Law Office Of Jeff Williams PLLC BBB Business Review
Print Print | Sitemap
2019 © Law Office of Jeff Williams PLLC. All rights reserved. The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. We invite you to contact us and welcome your calls, letters and electronic mail. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please do not send any confidential information to us until such time as an attorney-client relationship has been established.