The Smart Way to Name Your Company

The Smart Way to Name Your Company
 

What's in a name?

When you're starting a new company or rebranding an existing one, you're probably creating your new name from a marketing perspective. Like, how you can convey your brand ideals to your customers.

You also need to look at it from a legal perspective. Trademarks regulate what names, logos, tag lines, and colors your company can use.

Only one company can own the rights to use a brand.

It’s so important to trademark your brand.

Here’s how to pick a name you can protect…

 

1. Pick a name that can be trademarked

A lot of words can't be protected with trademarks.

Without a trademark, there's no way to stop copycats from ripping off your brand name and aesthetic. You're investing time and money into a brand that any other company can use to profit. For that reason, I don't recommend going forward with a name that can't be protected.

Here are the words to avoid:

 One Word Names

A lot of trademarks are already taken, especially when there’s only one word in the name. I’d avoid those names because someone is likely already using them.

Generic

You cannot protect words that literally describe what you do or products you sell. For example, you can't trademark hotels.com or the term "high heels."

Descriptive

You can't protect words that describe the ingredients, quality, use, or location of product. For example, Peach Body Scrub or California Candles.

Surnames

You cannot protect company names that only consist of a last name.

Geographic

You cannot protect the location where you produce the products or services, especially if it's a noteworthy location that is known for those products or services. For example, you couldn't protect Los Angeles Apparel because Los Angeles is known for producing apparel.

Deceptive

You can't protect words that may deceive customers about the products or services. For example, the words gold, silk, vegan, or kosher would be deceptive if the products were not actually made of gold, silk, vegan, or kosher materials.

Misspelled

You cannot get around another company's trademark by misspelling the word. For example, Starbuxx or Luluu Lemmon.

Single

You can't protect the name of a single edition of work. That means you cannot trademark the title of a book, song, or movie. However, you can trademark the title of a series, like multiple volumes, new editions, magazines, newsletters, coloring books, computer games, or albums.

Ornamental

You can't protect a word if you're using it on an ornamental part of the product. That means words across the front of a t-shirt cannot be protected. However, words on the tags or logos on the front pocket of shirts can be protected.

 

2. Run a Trademark Search

If a brand is already trademarked, then you can't use it.

The problem? There are millions of trademarks already. The number of trademark applications is skyrocketing in recent years, especially in popular areas like apothecary or apparel products.

A trademark search allows you to see if your company name is too similar to an existing company.

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, complex words, foreign translations, and words found in other trademark registers. Once you get all the necessary search results, you'll need to determine if any conflicting results will hold up your application.

It's best to call in an expert to run your trademark search. It needs to be done correctly to make sure that your brand is available before you begin a trademark application.


 

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