Misspelled-TermsMisspelled Terms as Trademarks

A trademark that is comprised of simply misspelled terms for an otherwise generic term, will not achieve trademark registration. The exception to this general rule is that a misspelled word that is also nonobvious and is sufficiently distinct may achieve trademark registration. The rule is that misspelled words that are otherwise descriptive of a product and are the same as the non-misspelled descriptive term for the product cannot be registered for lack of distinctiveness.

In conclusion, misspellings are typically considered descriptive if the phrase or term it stands for is found descriptive and consumers find them “substantially synonymous” with that descriptive wording. Trademark applicants have the burden of showing that the misspelled terms have meanings that would identify the source of the product and/or good to the public.

Examples of misspelled terms are:

  • GLUE STIK for glue sticks
  • SAFE T PLUG for “safety plug”
  • URGICARE for “urgent care”
  • Sk8 Bored for skateboard