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Choosing a new trademark

Posted by ipelton on: August 31st, 2009

When launching a new product or service, or re-branding an existing one, here are a few quick tips for coming up with a great trademark:

Be creative. Some of the best names are ones you had never heard of before they were created.  Google. Kodak. ESPN.  There are coined names and are the most unique of possible names.  And they are the easiest to protect and the strongest trademarks.  See prior post here for more details about trademark strength.  Creative spellings or combinations of syllables and words also make for good trademark possibilities.

Be early. It takes a few weeks generally to clear a new name with a comprehensive search. And if possible, it is best to wait to begin using a new trademark until it has been reviewed by the USPTO, and hopefully approved.  If possible, give yourself 6 months before launching a new product or service to select, clear and file a new name.

Brainstorm. When coming up with a new name, don’t focus on one possible name but come up with a few different ideas, or pieces of name,  dozens of variations or combinations.  Then sleep on it, discuss with others – including potential customers if possible – narrow your list to a handful of possibilities.  Then contact a trademark attorney.  If you hone in on one name too early, and that name is not available, you will have a harder time letting go of it and considering alternatives, and you will be losing time.

Have a message. What are you going to communicate to customers with your trademark?  A brand name can convey one or more of many characteristcs, such as: trustworthy, fun, young, simple, conservative, bold, sexy, new, old, funny, fancy, rich, local, or corporate.  Before you focus on potential names, focus on the message you want that name to send.

Think BIG. Remember, if your business is successful, it may be known worldwide. Someone may want to license, franchise or purchase it.  When developing a brand, if you think it is not that important, then odds are your brand never will be important. But if you think about the possibility of being hugely successful, maybe one day you will and then hopefully you will have a brand equipped for it.  If the creators of Google, Coca-Cola, Kodak, and the Gap, settled for a boring or unprotectable brand name it would actually have limited their potential for success.  Customers and investors are less likely to get behind a brand name that is boring or that is not strong.

These are just a few tips for development of a new brand name or slogan.  Once you have some possibilities after a brainstorm, do some searching on your own for conflicts and then consult a trademark lawyer for advice and a comprehensive clearance search and analysis.

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