In order to be registrable on the Principal Trademark Register, a trademark must be distinctive. That means it must distinguish the goods of the owner in the marketplace from the other providers (not likely to be confused with other trademarks), and it cannot be descriptive, generic or a surname. If a trademark meets these criteria, then it is distinctive.
If the mark is descriptive, or a surname, then it will not be registrable on the Principal Register – however, it may be registered on the Supplemental Register, and has a period of five years to show distinctiveness in the marketplace. These marks can gain distinctiveness with enough use and advertising in the marketplace (McDonald’s restaurants, for example, are a surname but have acquired distinctiveness over the years).
We have had a lot of success over they years with earning distinctiveness for initially unregistrable trademarks. Please contact us for more information.