Choosing a Trademark-Worthy Brand Name: A 7-Step Guide
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Table of contents
- 1. Understanding the different types of trademarks
- 2. Don’t be boring.
- 3. Avoid descriptive trademarks.
- 4. Make up a word.
- 5. Pick a random word.
- 6. Use suggestive trademarks to send subliminal messages.
- 7. Conduct a trademark search.
- A strong trademark establishes brand recognition and protection
When selecting a brand name, considering if it qualifies for trademark registration is vital.
Registering strong trademarks helps your business stand out and protects your brand identity. This article explores ways to create a trademark-worthy brand name that will resonate with your audience and ensure a smooth registration process.
Did you know that 77% of consumers base their purchasing decisions on a brand name?
It's time to move on from the snooze-fest of generic brands and embrace the power of solid trademarks. After all, a clever and memorable brand name has the potential to catapult your small business to new heights!
- Select a name for your brand consistent with your target market and brand's values.
- Consider the feelings and associations you want for your brand name.
- Conduct market research for audience-brand name alignment.
- Conduct a thorough trademark search, including an online search.
- Review your brand name and trademark regularly to ensure it keeps up with the changing market environment.
1. Understanding the different types of trademarks
Knowing the various registered trademark types is essential when considering trademark registration to preserve a brand's identity and set its goods and services apart from competitors.
There are many types of trademarks based on their level of uniqueness. This sorting assists in determining the trademark's protection level.
Arbitrary trademarks, like "Apple" or "Amazon," are strong marks because they have no underlying link to the goods or services they represent.
Fanciful trademarks, like "Xerox" or "Kodak," are entirely made-up phrases that provide a high level of uniqueness and protection.
On the other hand, descriptive trademarks describe the goods or services themselves, such as "Fast Food Restaurant." They may only qualify for trademark protection once they gain secondary meaning.
Descriptive and generic trademarks are weak and often get rejected, so it's essential to understand what makes or breaks a trademark. Generic trademarks that refer to the goods or services category cannot be trademarked.
2. Don’t be boring.
Avoiding descriptive trademark terms should be one of your first priorities when choosing a brand name. For instance, if you run a small coffee shop, your attempt to trademark the word "Coffee" is probably doomed to failure because it's regarded as a generic trademark.
Generic trademarks refer to words commonly used to describe an entire category of goods or services, such as "coffee" for a coffee shop. Attempting to register generic terms like "Coffee" for a coffee shop is likely unsuccessful, as it's already regarded as a term that cannot be exclusively owned.
3. Avoid descriptive trademarks.
When protecting your brand name through trademarking, descriptive and generic trademarks can be problematic.
Although you might be tempted, avoid using words that directly describe your goods or services.
For instance, it might be difficult to trademark the term "Silk Knitted" if you run a small business that sells sweaters made of silk. Instead, focus on picking a brand name that stands out and has nothing to do with the particular product; this will give you more freedom when registering strong trademarks.
According to the Trademark Office (USPTO), descriptive and generic trademarks are inherently weak. They must acquire secondary meaning to become eligible for trademark protection. In fact, approximately 37% of trademark applications are refused due to descriptiveness issues.
4. Make up a word.
Making up a word is a difficult task. Still, it's worth the effort because this kind of brand name, also known as fanciful trademarks, is the most straightforward to trademark!
For instance, Pepsi is a fantastic "fanciful" brand.
The word has no meaning in English but is a fantastic brand identifier. A successful trademarking strategy for your brand name is to coin a fancy word. Take a cue from well-known companies like Apple Computers, which went with a totally unrelated term to their goods or services.
5. Pick a random word.
Pick a word at random to trademark if you're having trouble coming up with one. These kinds, also known as arbitrary trademarks, use a word in the dictionary. There's a catch, although this may seem more straightforward than coming up with a word.
When I use the word "random," I mean it can't be linked with the goods or services you offer.
6. Use suggestive trademarks to send subliminal messages.
Be subtle instead of being direct if you want to describe your goods or services.
Do this using suggestive trademarks, which are much simpler to register than descriptive trademarks. Since suggestive marks require a certain level of interpretation or imagination, they are considered strong trademarks.
While descriptive trademarks can be deemed too familiar, suggestive trademarks strike a delicate balance by giving consumers a hint without explicitly describing the product or service.
An example of a suggestive trademark would be "Grey Hound Bus." The bus line's characteristics are indirectly suggested by this trademark. This brand name implies— without having to say it explicitly— that the bus is as quick as a Greyhound. Suggestive trademarks offer a clever and effective solution.
Jaguar, Coppertone, Netflix — these are examples of suggestive trademarks that subtly hint at qualities. Businesses can strengthen their brand identity and differentiate their goods or services through these suggestive trademarks.
7. Conduct a trademark search.
Sadly, even if you KNOW how to create strong trademarks, your mark won't be successful if it conflicts with another mark. So check the availability of your mark using a free trademark search to prevent a potential legal dispute.
Pro Tip: The Trademarkia search engine is an option for small business owners looking to register strong trademarks. The platform provides information and assistance for managing the trademark registration procedure, ensuring the best brand protection for your goods or services.
A strong trademark establishes brand recognition and protection
It takes significant thought and commitment to guiding principles to select a brand name worthy of trademark protection. Ensure you cover all the bases by:
- Understanding the many trademark categories
- Avoiding generic and descriptive phrases
- Utilizing suggestive trademarks
Following these guidelines may help you develop a brand name that stands out and appeals to your target market.
To ensure your brand is legally protected, you must conduct in-depth trademark searches and obtain expert guidance during registration. Remember that a good trademark distinguishes your company, creates a strong brand identity, and provides long-term business protection.
Spend the time and effort necessary to develop a brand name worthy of trademark protection and benefit from a memorable and profitable brand.
What is the strongest trademark?
Fanciful marks are objects that were created specifically to serve as trademarks and have no other function than that of a mark. The strongest kind of markings are regarded as being fanciful. Explanatory marks include EXXON.
What makes a great trademark?
The best trademarks are typically seen to be original phrases that were created or coined or distinctive geometric patterns. It should be indicative of the quality rather than reflecting the product's description. It’s one of the essential qualities of a successful trademark.
What is the weakest trademark?
A trademark's relative power can be described as a spectrum, with fanciful marks at one end and generic marks at the other. The strongest to weakest words on the spectrum are Fanciful, Arbitrary, Suggestive, Descriptive, and Generic.
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Lindokuhle Mkhize, a skilled creative copywriter and content lead at Trademarkia, brings a wealth of experience in driving innovation and managing teams. With previous success in starting and growing the Innovation and Marketing department at her former creative agency, Lindokuhle boasts expertise in leadership and delivering compelling content. Based in South Africa, Lindokuhle's work focuses on key themes of creativity, effective communication, and strategic marketing.
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