A brand name will help you stand out from the competition but ask yourself this: “Will my brand name stand through the trademark registration process?” This is a very important question to ask yourself because if your brand name isn’t eligible to trademark you may have to rebrand all over again!
So how do you avoid this embarrassing and costly mistake? The key is to select a brand name to trademark that truly distinguishes your product or service. Here are some tips on how:
1. Don’t be boring.
Please don’t try to trademark the word “Coffee” when you happen to be in the business of brewing and selling nothing but coffee. Marks like these are typically considered “generic” and are very unlikely to be granted a trademark. On top of that, generic marks like these lend to a very boring brand. A small business named “Coffee” that happens to sell nothing but (you guessed it) coffee will make any customer yawn – no matter how much caffeine you feed them.
2. Avoid describing your product.
When choosing a word to trademark, also try to avoid words that describe your product because these descriptive words will be somewhat difficult to trademark. For example, avoid trying to trademark a term like “Silk Knitted” if your product is a silk-knitted sweater. If you really are yearning to describe your product skip to #5.
3. Make up a word.
To make up a word may seem like somewhat of a difficult task but it’s worth the challenge because this type of brand name, known as “fanciful” mark, happens to be the easiest to trademark! Pepsi for example, is a great “fanciful” mark. The word does not mean anything in the English language but it obviously works as a great brand identifier.
4. Pick a random word.
If your having trouble making up a word, pick a random word to trademark. This type of brand name, or “arbitrary” mark, consists of a word that actually exists in the dictionary. Although this may sound a bit easier than having to make up a word, there is a catch. When I say random, I mean that the word you pick cannot have any meaning in association your product or service itself.
For instance, the brand name “Apple” is not a good choice for an apple farm selling nothing but apples. On the other hand, the word “Apple” is a great brand name for Apple Computers because, in no way shape or form, does an apple have anything to do with the computer company – any way you slice it.
5. Send subliminal messages.
If you really want to describe your product be subliminal about it, not direct. Do this by implying characteristics instead with a “suggestive” mark which is a lot easier to trademark than a descriptive mark.
An example of a suggestive mark is “Grey Hound Bus.” This trademark indirectly implies characteristics of the bus line. Without having to spell it out, this brand name is suggesting that the bus is as fast as a grey hound.
6. Conduct a trademark search.
Unfortunately, even if you come up with a brilliant word and logo to trademark, your mark is not going to work if it is conflicting with another mark. So to avoid a potential trademark battle, conduct a free trademark search to see if your mark is available.
7. Consult with a trademark attorney.
You may have followed all the steps above but trademark law is not black and white. Since there is a lot of grey area make sure to consult a professional trademark lawyer to ensure you choose the best brand name to trademark.
Do you have any questions about a word you are about to trademark? Let us know in the comment section below.