Trademark Experts Cheryl Hodgson and Bill Finkelstein answer: Why are Pepsi and Apple Good Trademarks?
Cheryl Hodgson: Bill, what makes for a good trademark?
Bill Finkelstein: The most important thing certainly is for it to be memorable. You want people to remember it when they go to the store, when they go online to make purchases. You also want it to be a distinctive trademark which helps with memorability so that when you advertise it and when it appears on packaging, people immediately recognize it.
A lot of people choose their own names. Of course, if you choose Bill as a trademark, how many thousands of Bills are there out there, or Cheryls or what not, or even last names. Even take something like McDonald’s which right now we would say is a distinctive trademark but many years ago, choosing your last name and there are other McDonald’s out there, it takes a long time to build investment and to spend money and time to advertise and get that recognition factor for something like a surname or geographic name.
Not every trademark has to be a made-up name like Pepsi but those are really good trademarks.
Why Are Pepsi and Apple Good Trademarks?
Cheryl: Pepsi is actually a made up name? Where did it come from by the way? Do you have any recollection?
Bill: The allusion apparently back in the 1800s, the late 1800s was to calming your stomach down, peptic is a Latin word, having something to do with your stomach. I think that's the best guess that anyone has because in those days, soft drinks were actually dispensed at soda fountains which were inside drug stores.
That is apparently where it came from. Basically, it's a made-up word. It's not in the dictionary. Therefore, it's what we call a very strong trademark because when you see Pepsi or you hear the word Pepsi, it only conjures up one thought.
When you have a trademark like Apple, if you just use the word apple, it could refer to obviously the red thing that we eat. Of course, it also refers to music and record albums as well as obviously now the very popular computer.
With a dictionary word, it's a little extra investment, a little extra time to develop the kind of association between that word and the product or service that you're selling.
Cheryl: When you say dictionary word, you mean like an ordinary word like an apple because it has a meaning, or a generic term. It's generic for fruit, a kind of fruit but it can be a good trademark if it's applied arbitrarily to something unrelated to fruit.