secondary meaning

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A secondary meaning is an additional meaning acquired by a non-distinct trademark through its commercial use. To acquire federal trademark protection, a non-distinctive mark must become associated with a single commercial source in the minds of consumers (see e.g., the term “apple"). Secondary meaning can be measured in a variety of ways—from consumer surveys to sales volume to quantity of advertising, among others. 

[Last updated in August of 2021 by the Wex Definitions Team]