Companies place a great deal of focus on the creation and development of their brands. As part of the brand creation process, however, companies must not lose sight of the importance of ensuring that a newly created trademark will be registrable with the government authorities. The rejection of a trademark means not only wasting the money that has already been invested in building the brand but also losing business opportunity and competitive advantage. With the possibility of rejection in mind, this article examines the requirement that word marks must not directly refer to the character or quality of the goods in order to be deemed distinctive. In addition, the article discusses strategies that can be employed to overcome a distinctiveness rejection.