What Are Laudatory Terms?

Laudatory terms used in or as a trademark ultimately attribute excellence to the products or services the trademark identifies. Examples of these terms are “best,” “original,” or “famous.” These laudatory terms simply praise the quality of those products or services and are descriptive and are not registrable, unless the trademark applicant can prove the terms have acquired secondary meaning. Other laudatory terms that may be considered descriptive are “Super,” or “Deluxe.” These terms do not provide information regarding the source of the product.  The argument could be made, however, these could be considered suggestive.

This is why thoughtful trademark selection is so critically important.  There are times even when a product or service trademarks, employing laudatory terms, has attained a secondary meaning and still will not be registrable. An example of such terms are, “The best beer in America.” This advertising phrase is laudatory that only describes the good and does not distinguish the source of that good.

It is possible that some laudatory terms are considered “puffery” of a product or service.  In other words, the terms used to identify the product or service is so extravagant that the terms distinguish the source of the business’ products or services and will not be held descriptive. However, this situation is unlikely because trademarks that laud the quality of the products or services are evidence of descriptiveness in the trademark.