Generic terms (as applied to specific goods/services) are not registerable as trademarks. If a generic term is only part of a mark that is otherwise registerable, exclusive rights to the generic terms can be disclaimed.
Generic terms are terms that the relevant purchasing public understands primarily as the common or class name for the goods or services. A mark is generic if its primary significance to the relevant public is the class or category of goods or services on or in connection with which it is used.
A two-part inquiry is used to determine whether a designation is generic:
- What is the genus of goods or services at issue?
- Does the relevant public understand the designation primarily to refer to that genus of goods or services?
It is not necessary to show that the relevant public uses the term to refer to the genus. The correct inquiry is whether the relevant public would understand the term to be generic.