How to Tell if Your Brand Name is Available

How to Tell if Your Brand Name is Available
 

It’s so important to pick a brand that is available and isn’t trademarked yet. Otherwise, you could be sued or forced to rebrand.

You’ll want to run a trademark search to see if your name is available.

It's not as simple as inputting your exact company name and hitting search. You'll need to search for similar sounding words, similar spelled words, alternate pronunciation of words, and foreign translations.

Once you find the search results, you'll need to determine if any of these brands are too similar to your name.

If they’re too similar, you can be sued or forced to rebrand. Plus, any trademark applications you file will be denied and you won’t be issued a refund. So it’s really important to make sure that you run the search correctly.

Here’s how to tell if your brand is available…

 

1. Run a Google Search

You’ll start by finding anyone who is currently using the name.

You’ll search google, facebook, instagram, and other social media sites to find anyone who is using a similar name.

Google Search

  1. Search your exact company name

  2. Search your exact company name + “trademark”

  3. Search keywords from your name

  4. Search keywords from your name + trademark

  5. Search any spelling variations of your name

  6. Search any similar names that come to mind

Write down all the similar companies. You’ll want to know what they sell, where they sell, and when they first used the name.

Social Media Search

  1. Search your exact company name

  2. Search keywords from your name

  3. Search any spelling variations of your name

  4. Search any similar names that come to mind

Write down all the similar companies. You’ll want to know what they sell, where they sell, and when they first used the name.

PRO TIP

It doesn’t matter whether they have a trademark or not.

If they don’t have a trademark but they’re using it first, they could have common law rights in the name that could be a problem for you.

So let’s consider them all the same for now.

2. Run a USPTO Search

You’ll also want to find similar brands that are trademarked.

You’ll run a Basic Word Search at the USPTO website.

USPTO Search

  1. Search your exact company name

  2. Search keywords from your name

  3. Search any spelling variations of your name

  4. Search any similar names that come to mind

Write down all the similar companies. You’ll want to know what they sell, where they sell, and when they first used the name.

PRO TIP

If you didn't find any similar brands, you probably didn't run the search correctly.

We always find a few brands that could be an issue.

Then, we research the Trademark Office's past decisions to see how they'll decide on your application.

3. Find any Issues

Once you find all similar brands, you’ll determine which ones may be an issue.

You’ll list brands that:

Sound Similar, and

You’ll want to be broad about what sounds similar.

For example, if the brands share a keyword, they may be too similar.

Words like "The” “And” or “Co.” won’t make a difference. You can ignore these words and think about whether the brand name is still similar without them.

Sell in the US, and

You only need to worry about brands that are selling in the US.

Sell Similar Products + Services

You’ll want to be broad about what is a similar product or service as well.

For example, shirts and bags could be too similar because many stores sell both.

4. Review the Results

You’ll review the results and see whether your name is available.

If You Found A Similar Brand

You’ll probably want to find a new name.

You can be sued or forced to rebrand with this name.

You should double check with a trademark attorney to make sure you ran the search and reviewed it correctly. There might still be a way to use this name.

If You Didn’t Find Any Similar Brands

You probably didn’t run the search correctly.

You should find a few brands that could be an issue. That’s because there are millions of trademarks already. It’s very unlikely that your brand would be so available like that.

You’ll want to have a trademark attorney rerun the search.

If You Found a Brand But Aren’t Sure Whether They’re Similar

You’ll want to have a trademark attorney run a full search.

We’ll review the results and tell you whether your name is available or whether you need to find a new name.

 

 

Free Download

How-to-Trademark-Your-Brand

How to Trademark Your Brand in 3 Steps

In this guide, you’ll learn…

How to create a brand you can protect

How to tell if your brand is available

How to file a trademark application

How the trademark process works

Nicole SwartzTrademark