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Choosing a Strong Business Name for Trademark

Many marketing executives will tell you that the name doesn’t sell itself, and beyond their self-serving goal of protecting their value, they are actually giving great advice from a trademark perspective regarding distinctiveness.  Distinctiveness in trademark lingo is how unique or descriptive your name is.  Trademark grants more protection for more distinctive names and less protection for more generic descriptive names.  We don’t want descriptive names because they are too broad and we don’t want someone to own the most generic name for the goods or services.  This is why you can’t get a trademark for “Good Vaults, LLC” if you make vaults, that name is too descriptive of your goods and it would be unrealistic to give you ownership of “Vault” so that nobody else can use it related to making vaults. 

On the other extreme, if I named a company “XKDOI$E7D, LLC” there is not a connection to my goods or services and it is really easy to get a trademark but harder for customers to know what the business does.  Because your customers don’t immediately recognize your goods and services, you will need to teach them.  This teaching is usually in the form of marketing and has a cost to it but can make a unique name into a great name.  Think of the challenge Apple® had in making you think you wanted to phones or computers from a company with a fruit as the name and logo, they would never have been able to trademark Apple for apples, but had little challenge in getting it trademarked for computers and technology, then they had to teach the customers what they did and how good their products are. 

Is it worth it?  If you develop a strong reputation and combine it with a strong trademark, you have a considerable asset should you sell your business, additionally, your business name may outshine your products and services to the point where customers buy your products because of the name on it even more than how the product performs.  If you can get to this point, you have created a monetarily valuable asset, but more importantly you have created fans that will teach and market for you, but don’t forget the marketing team that got you there in the first place.

Give us a call to speak with our intellectual property attorney 605-275-5665.