What happens if a company name is an already existing commonly used word, i.e. Always? Could for example, a movie studio decide to make a movie and call it "Always", even though there is a feminine care company brand with the same name? Can common words such as "always" be trademarked by one specific company, or are they too much of a general word for such a claim?

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    Have you done any research on trademark protection? Please read the wikipedia article on trademark protection and the other trademark questions on this site.
    – phoog
    Apr 27, 2017 at 5:41
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    if i found the answer i wouldn't be asking here, would i? Apr 27, 2017 at 14:48
  • Presumably not, but your question implicates some rather elementary concepts of trademark law, so it looks like you didn't do any research, and the question is also therefore rather broad. If you can edit your question to explain what you found, and why it didn't satisfy you, you'll be more likely to get a helpful answer.
    – phoog
    Apr 27, 2017 at 14:52
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    everything ifound was in terms of trademarks that have become common words i.e. xeros. However, nothing talks about what happens if a trademark is an already existing word i.e. always. Apr 27, 2017 at 17:51
  • Related: Can you trademark a word in a dictionary?
    – Andrew T.
    Jan 9, 2022 at 15:21

2 Answers 2


The thing your example seems to miss is that trademark protection does not prevent other people from using the trademark for any purpose whatsoever; it only concerns the use of the trademark for the purpose of selling a particular product or service. A movie studio can call their movie Always because they're not selling feminine hygiene products. Indeed, even if they were selling something else it might be fine; consider Delta Airlines and the Delta Faucet Company or Dove chocolate and Dove soap.

Can common words such as "always" be trademarked ...

Why yes. As your question notes, the word has been trademarked.

... by one specific company?

For each product, yes. But an unrelated company might be able to trademark "always" in connection with an unrelated product.


The standard for trademark registration is distinctiveness. Is the mark distinctive with respect to the source or producer of the goods or services?

Proposed marks that already have a meaning fall into three categories:

  • marks that are arbitrary ("APPLE", for computers) or suggestive ("DROPBOX", for the cloud storage service)
  • marks that are merely descriptive ("REGISTRY OF MEDICAL PATHOLOGISTS")
  • marks that are generic terms ("COMPUTER", for computers, or "APPLE", for apples)

Arbitrary or suggestive marks are immediately registrable without having to prove acquired distinctiveness.

Marks that are merely descriptive are registrable only after proving that the mark has acquired distinctiveness.

Generic marks are never registrable.

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