That amazing brand name or business name you have is valuable. Valuables should be protected and a brand can be protected by registering it as a trade mark. However, not every name will qualify as a trade mark, so here are some essential questions you need to ask before deciding on a trade mark.
Why would you want to trade mark your brand name?
By having a brand name that is unique and that no one else can copy guarantees your competitive advantage. If you are the only one who can offer that product or service under that specific brand name it means that your customers will never get confused. If someone else uses your brand without your say so, with a trade mark registration, you can take action to stop them.
What names qualify for trade mark protection?
Made up a names. Kodak or Exxon for example. George Eastman, creator of the KODAK trade mark, had some simple yet profound advice on what makes a good trade mark: he said it should be short, vigorous, easily spelled and meaningless.
Use an arbitrary name that is not related to your business. Apple (computers) is a good example of this type of trade mark. The meaning is unrelated to the goods or services offered for sale under the mark.
Use a suggestive name so that consumers have to give some thought and use their imagination to reach a conclusion about the exact nature of the goods or services. MICROSOFT (suggestive of software for microcomputers).
Is your brand name available?
There are many products and services on the market so you need to make sure that you choose a name that is not used by others offering the same goods or services. An internet search will give you an idea of who else is using that name and what it is associated with. If you want to stand out from the crowd, don’t call yourself the same name as your competitors, especially as their name could already be a registered trade mark. Trying to incorporate a trade mark into your own brand is not wise. The bigger brands have deeper pockets and will prevent you from trying to pass off being associated with them.
Is your brand name descriptive?
Having something that perfectly describes what you or your product does is a not good idea. Being descriptive means that you cannot stand out from the crowd and you will have a brand which is the same as everyone else who uses the same descriptive name. Also you will not be able to protect a descriptive name as this is a word that should be free for all to use. The less descriptive your brand name is, the stronger the protection.
Is your brand name also your company name?
If you have registered your name as your company name you can also register it as a trade mark. A company name is the name of your business, a trade mark is the intellectual property which is a sign a consumer uses to identify where the goods and services come from, so if they have a positive experience they can repeat it and a negative experience they can avoid it. Make sure to register your brand as a trade mark.
Register your brand as a trade mark
You may think that trade mark registration is expensive. Official fees start from £170 and an attorney £270. A registration lasts for 10 years and can be renewed. Spread that cost over the many years you will be in business and the ten years your registration is valid for, you will see that trade marks are extremely affordable. Your brand name is packed with potential. Customers use it to buy from your business. The loss of these rights put the company in a very serious position. Loss could be from someone else registering the name and telling you that you are infringing a registered trade mark. Once the rights to Intellectual Property have been lost, a business has no choice but to fight to protect it, buy it back, or to rebrand, all of which pose a financial risk and the risk of loss of customers. Use our free search on our website https://www.trademarktribe.com, which will let you know whether someone else has registered the name as a trade mark.
Dale Campbell is a European Trademark Attorney and owner at TrademarkTribe.com.
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