How to pick a trademark name [Fact-Checked]

Last updated : Aug 24, 2022
Written by : Jani Mazique
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How to pick a trademark name

How do you come up with a good trademark?

  1. Avoid trademarks that cannot be registered.
  2. Strength of the trademark matters.
  3. Choose words that are fanciful or arbitrary.
  4. Avoid descriptive and generic words.
  5. Avoid surnames.
  6. Avoid words that will cause consumers to be confused with another trademark.
  7. Avoid three letter acronyms and numbers.

How do I choose a trade name?

Ideally, you want something that's: Meaningful: It communicates your brand essence, conjures an image, and cultivates a positive emotional connection. Distinctive: It is unique, memorable, and stands out from your competitors. Accessible: People can easily interpret it, say it, spell it, or Google it.

How do I find my TM name?

Steps to Check for a Trademark Log in to the official website of trademark registration in India: Click on the trademarks tab and then click on public search. There are 3 search criteria available – Wordmark, Vienna code, and Phonetic.

Can you put a TM on a name?

Anyone can use the TM symbol without legal repercussions. But the R symbol is only for marks that have trademark protection from the USPTO. It may also be a mistake to not use either the TM or R symbol on your mark.

What makes a strong trademark name?

Strong trademarks are typically creative or unique, setting you apart from your competitors. These trademarks include fanciful, arbitrary, or suggestive trademarks. Fanciful trademarks are invented words. They only have meaning in relation to their goods or services.

How long does a trademark last?

A federal trademark lasts 10 years from the date of registration, with 10-year renewal terms. Between the fifth and sixth year after the registration date, the registrant must file an affidavit to state that the mark is still in use.

How do I name my brand?

  1. Define the leading brand or product attributes.
  2. Define the brand promise.
  3. Define the product category in which the brand will compete and identify top competitors.
  4. Begin to brainstorm names and run them through a filter that considers the brand attributes and brand promise.

What is an example of a trade name?

A trade name is also called a DBA (doing business as) name. A good example of this is Walmart. Walmart's legal business name is Wal-Mart Inc. but its trade name is just Walmart—that's the name it uses on its advertising and website, and what most people refer to it as.

How do I name my small business?

  1. Understand your business. As with many business processes, naming requires a solid understanding of your company.
  2. Use descriptive words.
  3. Be literal.
  4. Choose a name style.
  5. Avoid hard-to-spell names.
  6. Tell a story.
  7. Get feedback on the name.
  8. Do not be too narrow.

How do I know if a brand name is taken?

Before you apply, you should search the USPTO's trademark database (Trademark Electronic Search System, or TESS) to see if any trademark has already been registered or applied for that is: Similar to your trademark. Used on related products or for related services, and. Live.

How do I trademark a name for free?

You can not register a trademark for free. However, you can establish something known as a "common law trademark" for free, simply by opening for business. The benefit of relying on common law trademark rights is that it's free, and you don't need to do any specific work filling out forms, etc.

Can you trademark a name already in use but not trademarked?

1. Can You File for a Trademark That Exists? Updated November 12, 2020: If you're wondering, "can you trademark something that already exists," the simple answer is "no." Generally speaking, if somebody has used a trademark before you, you can't register the trademark for yourself.

Do I use TM or R?

You do not have to have registered a trademark to use it and many companies will opt to use the TM symbol for new goods or services in advance of and during the application process. The R symbol indicates that this word, phrase, or logo is a registered trademark for the product or service.

What is difference between R and TM?

TM denotes that you are claiming a right to use your brand as a trademark, although it may not yet be registered with the relevant IP office. (R) signifies that your trademark is officially registered with the IP office in the country and for the goods and services that you are using it for.

Do I need to use TM every time?

The symbol does not have to be used every time the mark is used. Instead, use the symbol in the first instance the mark is used, in the most prominent use of the mark, or both. Repeated use of trademark symbols can become cluttered.

What is a weak trademark?

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) defines a weak trademark as something “descriptive” and is already being used by others to describe their goods and/or services. A weak trademark makes it “difficult and costly to try to police and protect” due to its generic nature.

What is the strongest type of trademark?

The strongest types of trademarks are (1) fanciful or coined marks, such as EXXON for petroleum products; and (2) arbitrary marks, such as AMAZON for retail services.

What makes a trademark unique?

This means that trademarks are protectable only if they are distinctive. Trademarks and service marks are judged on a spectrum of distinctiveness, arbitrary and fanciful trademarks are considered to be the most distinctive.

What are the three types of trademarks?

What you'll learn: Arbitrary and Fanciful Trademarks. Suggestive Trademarks. Descriptive Trademarks.

How long does a trademark take to get approved?

Usually, the process takes 12 to 18 months. Registering your trademark is a complex procedure that involves your application moving through various stages. Learning about each stage in the process will help you understand why getting a trademark takes as long as it does.

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How to pick a trademark name

Comment by Theresia Nettik

getting your brand name wrong can cost you literally thousands if not it can cost you a lot of money hi my name is Jim Hardin the founding attorney here at Hawthorne law where we help online entrepreneurs to get their legal house in order so that you can build something that truly matters in the world today we're talking about coming up with an amazing name for that business there's a lot at stake when you're trying to come up with the right name for your business because if you get this wrong you can spend literally thousands of dollars on marketing materials websites social media brand recognition all these things just to find out later on that you've either picked the wrong name or picked the name that somebody else is already using or picked a name that is not even capable of being trademarked so you want to get this right and today I want to talk to you about the five main categories of names that you can choose for your business what are the best ones what are the worst ones and how to pick the right sweetspot category that's gonna work for you so that your business can be smooth sailin later on when it comes time to trademark the name of your brand and by the way this also applies to product offerings as well it's not just for brand names it's also for the products and services that you might be selling in your business so let's take a minute and talk about what a lot of people do when they're naming a business for their brand they basically just do a brainstorm come up with something that sounds good or maybe they have that light bulb moment where they decide you know what this is a name that's gonna work for my business and I'm gonna go with it and they do and it normally doesn't work out quite so well so when it comes time and and if you missed my video last week you want to go make sure you check this video right here that talks about all the mistakes that people make when coming up with names for your online business but today what I want to talk about are the five best categories of names that you can use when thinking about how you want to trademark your business because ultimately you do want to trademark your business this is one of the best investments you can make in your business especially if you're thinking that somewhere later on down the road you want to sell your business of course right now the guy outside decides he wants to do two more thing isn't been around all day now he comes out come on dude whenever somebody comes to me with a trademark idea I want to talk to them about the five main categories of trademarks so when you're coming up a name for your trademark these five main categories I'm gonna go through them real quick and then we're gonna go through them one at a time in a little more detail so we've got fanciful arbitrary suggestive descriptive and generic those are the five categories of names let's talk about them each one at a time and then we'll talk about what are the best names and one of the worst names so let's talk about fanciful names first fanciful names are basically made-up names their names that were not in the dictionary before you came up with the name so if you make something up that is a by definition a fanciful name some examples of this are gonna be Google Kodak Skype these are all fanciful names none of them existed before the companies created those names to name their business Zappos is another one that I would throw in there except Zappos comes from the Spanish word zapatos which means shoes so that's a little bit of gray area but I would call it fanciful here's the plusses to using fanciful names fanciful names are very easy to be trademarked but there's also some negatives that go with them because when you make up a name nobody knows what that you're talking about and so you have to have a lot of money to put behind that brand to educate the public about what it is that you're actually selling so in general from a trademark perspective fanciful names are gonna be great but from a practical standpoint they're not so great because they take a lot of time of money to educate the public the second category of names are gonna be the arbitrary names and these are names that are already in existence but they're being used in a way that is unrelated to their initial meeting meeting no no meaning being used in a way that is unrelated to their initial meaning got me some great examples of this are gonna be Apple and Amazon all of those are names that were in the dictionary before Apple decided to use Apple as their brand name or before Amazon decided to use these names they're being used in an a in a way that is completely unrelated to what the word was initially intended we all know what an Apple is but Apple is a computer company and has nothing to do with selling apples Amazon I'm not sure Jeff Bezos came up with named Amazon I'm sure there's a story behind that that is clearly used in a way that is not what it was initially intended we're not talking about selling a rainforest we're talking about selling an online marketplace to sell books is what it started out with as so arbitrary names the pros and cons here are number one the pros from a trademark perspective again they're gonna be names that are fairly easy to trademark but the cons again just like with the fanciful names you have to do a lot of education you kind of tell people what you're all about and that takes a lot of money and time and effort a lot of people aren't necessarily going to know what your business is about when you're just getting started from that standpoint again as a practical matter they're not necessarily gonna be the best names for a small online business that might be a solopreneur or something that you're doing with your spouse or a couple friends and building up an online business so suggestive names is the third category names these are gonna be names that suggest a quality or characteristic of the goods or services that you are selling so great examples of this are gonna be greyhound FaceTime snapchat Wrangler these all kind of have these these Greyhound sounds like it's something that's gonna be fast so it's Greyhound bus fast bus Wrangler kind of gives you the sense of this you know cowboy style and that's kind of indicative of the genes that are being sold suggestive names are really good names for trademark purposes because again they're names that are that are previously in the dictionary but they're they're being used in a different sort of way but at the same time they're being used in a way that kind of suggests what the good or service is all about when you're using a suggestive name you don't need to spend as much money there still needs to be some education involved but you don't need to spend as much money explaining to the public what the brand is all about I haven't talked about this a lot in the past pavón law is a suggestive name and the reason it's a suggestive name is because a Hawthorn tree or Hawthorn bush was used back hundreds of years ago to protect property from thieves and predators and at Hawthorn we protect online businesses from people that would steal your brand

Thanks for your comment Theresia Nettik, have a nice day.
- Jani Mazique, Staff Member

Comment by Juan

there's a good chance that the name you're thinking of using for your new business might not be protectable and it might even get you into a legal dispute in this video i'm going to tell you about how you can choose a business name which is strong protectable and which can help you build brand equity i'm going to show you practical steps for selecting not just a name but a strong trademark let's talk about that hi i'm elias borges and i'm a lawyer and a registered trademark and patent agent with over 33 years of experience i help entrepreneurs protect their trademarks protect their inventions secure their intellectual property rights and help them commercialize their ideas if you've ever had a business idea which you thought could be successful then subscribe to my channel and learn how you might better protect your rights and commercialize your idea let's start by discussing why a bad business name or trademark can cause you troubles firstly if you choose a bad name then it can't be registered with the trademarks office as a result your competitors can encroach on your business by using similar trademarks and there is not a lot you can do about it all of the effort and money you sync into your advertising and promotion might not exclusively benefit you since your competitors can use similar names and trademarks also your bad trademark might get you into a legal dispute with a competitor or another company which uses a somewhat similar trademark this is particularly a problem if they've actually registered that trademark finally a bad trademark is difficult to monetize and build brand awareness around that's why you want to avoid bad business names and bad trademarks now before we get much further i should tell you that almost any trademark can become famous if you spend enough time and money promoting that trademark however selecting a good trademark makes it easier to promote and to protect your business so how do you select a good trademark after studying this problem for 30 years i can tell you that there are two factors which make a business name an intrinsically good trademark first of all the trademark must be distinctive that's to say it's so unique that it's not confusing or similar to other trademarks secondly the trademark must be memorable or easy to remember it helps a lot if the trademark also evokes a positive emotional reaction concerning the product or so or service associated with that trademark let's look at some examples of good bad and ugly trademarks apple computers is a good trademark in fact it's a great trademark firstly it's distinctive back in 1977 when the company introduced its first product there were practically no other technology companies using a name like apple secondly the trademark is memorable and invokes a positive emotional response back in 1977 computers were these fiendishly complicated and intimidating things that only a very few people were interested in mostly people were actually afraid of computers the exact term was computer phobe i know back then i was one of them that's why apple computers is such a great trademark there's nothing complicated or intimidating about apples everyone knows what an apple is everyone has eaten an apple so apple computers were computers that were like apples easy and unintimidating it was the computer that was made for people who weren't computer nerds they've traded on that image for over 40 years now and it's been great for them that's a good trademark cold milk this is a bad trademark because it's descriptive of the product being sold namely milk since it's descriptive it won't be registerable and can't be protected anyone can use that mark anyone can sell their dairy beverages using the words milk and coal that's why it's not registerable many people choose these types of bad trademarks marks that basically describe the product or service being sold it sounds like a good strategy for picking a trademark give it a name that describes the product or service but those names are not registerable not enforceable and they are therefore terrible trademarks never use trademarks or business names which directly describe the product or service you're offering a t mcdonald's super green laundry detergent those are examples of ugly trademarks like i said earlier almost any trademark can become famous if you spend enough time and effort and money into making it famous by promoting it these are examples of trademarks which basically have become famous or well known not because they're good trademarks but because those companies and those people invested a huge amount of money and time into promoting those trademarks firstly trademarks which are surnames generally aren't registrable by law hence mcdonald's wasn't originally registerable as a trademark however after years of being in business and countless millions of dollars in advertising it became sufficiently famous that it was allowed to be registered as a trademark trademarks like att or what i call tlas or three-letter acronyms there are a lot of these trademarks being used and in my opinion they're all intrinsically weak marks firstly there are a ton of three-letter acronyms out there that sound or appear very similar also the acronyms usually aren't memorable to the consumer they are easily forgotten easily confused and don't invoke any sort of emotional attachment in the consumer i would avoid those types of trademarks trademarks that include descriptive or generic terms like super and green are also intrinsically weak they may be technically registrable but they are weak trademarks because they can't prevent your competitors from using similar words or even the same words to advertise their products services i would avoid those types of trademarks as well so the goal is to pick a trademark that is unique distinctive and invokes an idea or emotion associated with your product or service without being generic and without specifically describing the product or service that you're trying to sell let's go through some approaches of how you can do that invented words by combining existing words a lot of great trademarks are basically invented words which were created by combining words related to or invoking images of the product or services being sold now that's not the same as words that are actually describe the actual service or product i'm talking about words which invoke some kind of appeal or connection with the product without actually describing it for example consider the trademark youtube it's a combination of the words you and tube and invokes the idea of watching something you made on the tube implying television this is a powerful technique for creating distinctive and memorable trademarks be careful though some of your competitors might have similar ideas so make sure to do a trademark search before you adopt that trademark invented words that mean nothing but sound really good a lot of good trademarks are purely invented words that mean nothing in themselves but they sound good or they sound authoritative basically you combine a group of letters to form an easily pronounceable short word there are

Thanks Juan your participation is very much appreciated
- Jani Mazique

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