How to Choose a Trademark That Works for Your Brand
If you’re starting a new business or launching a new product, you might have a name in mind that you’re passionate about. Maybe it’s a name that reflects your personal story, your values, or your vision. Maybe it’s a name that you’ve been using for a long time and have grown attached to. Maybe it’s a name that you think is catchy, clever, or creative.
But before you file a trademark application for that name, you should ask yourself: Is this name really the best choice for my brand? Will it help me stand out from the competition and connect with my target audience? Will it be easy to protect and enforce in the marketplace?
The truth is, whatever personal connection you might have with your name, that connection does not exist to your potential customers. They don’t know your story, your values, or your vision. They only know what they see and hear when they encounter your name. And if your name is too generic, too descriptive, too similar to another name, or too hard to pronounce or spell, they might not remember it, trust it, or choose it.
That’s why it’s important to choose a trademark that is unique and protectable. A unique trademark is one that is distinctive, memorable, and relevant to your brand. A protectable trademark is one that is not already in use by someone else in your industry or geographic area, and that is not likely to be rejected by the trademark office or challenged by a third party.
How do you find such a trademark? Here are some tips to help you:
Do your research. Before you fall in love with a name, do some online searches to see if anyone else is using it or something similar. You can use tools like Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS) to check the availability of trademarks in the US.
Avoid generic and descriptive names. Generic names are those that describe a category of products or services, such as “Bookstore” or “Coffee Shop”. Descriptive names are those that describe a feature or quality of your products or services, such as “Fast Delivery” or “Organic Bakery”. These names are not distinctive and are hard to protect because they are common and widely used by others.
Consider suggestive and arbitrary names. Suggestive names are those that hint at what your products or services do or offer, without directly describing them, such as “Netflix” or “Spotify”. Arbitrary names are those that use existing words that have nothing to do with your products or services, such as “Apple” or “Amazon”. These names are more distinctive and easier to protect because they are unique and unexpected.
Invent a new name. If you want to be really creative and original, you can invent a new name that has no meaning in any language, such as “Google” or “Zappos”. These names are the most distinctive and protectable because they are one-of-a-kind and have no prior associations.
Test your name. Once you have some potential names, test them with your target audience and get their feedback. You can use tools like PickFu or SurveyMonkey to create online polls and surveys. You can also ask your friends, family, colleagues, or customers for their opinions. You want to make sure that your name is easy to pronounce, spell, remember, and understand.
Choosing a trademark is not an easy task. It requires creativity, research, testing, and sometimes compromise. But don’t get stuck on the name that you first thought of. Be open to exploring other options and finding a name that works for your brand and your customers. Remember, a trademark is not just a name; it’s an identity. Make it count.