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Archive for September, 2009

Love it or leave it – ally bank

Posted by ipelton on: September 29th, 2009

ally bank used to be GMAC Financial Services. See here: http://www.ally.com/ally-story

Given the troubles in the last year with GM and the GM brand (including bankruptcy, government funding, and floggings in front of congress), GMAC changed its name. A good idea to change the name, sure.  But “ally”?

The only thing I like about the name is that it does not sound like a traditional boring bank name. But in general, I am not a fan of the name “ally”? Are bankers really friends or allies? Particularly after the financial disasters of the last year?  Also, it is very close to the word “Alley” in look and sound.  And I don’t know of any positive associations with the word “Alley.”

Also, the name and logo just look a bit odd and funny to me.  The logo does not look and sound institutional and trustworthy like most financial service names – Bank of America, Fidelity, Merrill Lynch, Citibank, etc.   I give them credit for trying something different for a financial service, particularly in the current economic conditions and in turning a new page for GMAC Financial Services.  But in my mind, the name lacks confidence, security, and trust.

Lesson: What does your name and logo say about your business?

Recent trademark registrations

Posted by ipelton on: September 28th, 2009

Here is another sampling of some recent registrations our clients have received from the USPTO, so readers can see real examples of brands and marks which are being protected. (These are all public records – click on trademark name or logo to view USPTO records.)

  • SERGEANT - for a variety of goods in the field of camping and outdoor gear
  • US ADJUSTER TRAINING logo – for providing online and classroom training and courses in the field of insurance adjustment

  • SINCE DAY 1 – for clothing and apparel, namely, tee-shirts, hats, sweatshirts, jackets, shorts, sweatpants, underwear, tank tops, collar shirts, socks
  • WILD DAWG logo –  for Clothing, namely, shirts, jerseys, fleece pullovers, T-shirts, polo shirts, sweatshirts, headwear, hats, caps, beanies, visors

Love it or leave it – AMAZON name and logo

Posted by ipelton on: September 22nd, 2009

AMAZON.COM is ubiquitous as an online retailer.  And the company/brand continues to grow… the Kindle, online data storage (Amazon A3), and as of this week AmazonBasics branded electronics products (Wall Street Journal story here).

Amazon® is a great trademark.  The name represents size (huge), earth and nature, and uniqueness.  It represents enormity because it takes its name from the Amazon river,  which of course also has a relationship with nature.  And it speaks of “unique” because it is an “arbitrary” trademark which on its face has nothing to do with online retailing or any other product or service provided by Amazon.  Arbitrary trademarks are very strong brands (Apple® computer, Dell® computer, ) because while the words are not new or made up, they have no direct relationship to the services or products offered.   They are not suggestive or descriptive.  Arbitrary trademarks may be difficult to brand, because without more information the consumer does not know what is being advertised, but they are strong to protect.

The Amazon logo is great as well.

The logo says three things to me:

- Smile: be fun, be happy.  You will like shopping with Amazon.

- Move, travel.  The arrow (sometimes used by itself) represents what Amazon does best – moves product using its innovative warehousing and shipping methods.  When your order from Amazon you expect your order to travel from the computer to their warehouse to your door step quickly and smoothly.

- A to Z.  A subliminal message, perhaps, which I had not consciously noticed until writing this post.  Amazon carries everything, from “a” to “z”.

Because it is playful and tells a story of the brand, the logo is very good.  The logo has evolved over the years.  A fascinating history of the Amazon logo here: http://www.kokogiak.com/gedankengang/2004/07/amazoncom-logo-timeline.html

Backstory: Apparently Amazon once had to fight and settle and trademark case with a bookstore that had been around since 1970 called Amazon Bookstore Cooperative.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amazon_Bookstore_Cooperative

Amazon’s name and logo are unique and capture its brand story well –  a giant retailer selling and shipping everything from “a” to “z”.  As a result, I love it.

Lessons: Names based on nature can be powerful.  Trademarks which do not describe your service or product, but capture or suggest features of your brand can be very effective. The same goes for elements in a logo.

A great tool for protecting your brand names online

Posted by ipelton on: September 19th, 2009

KnowEm (www.knowem.com) is a site that allows you to put in a brand name and see if the equivalent username is registered on more than 100 social media websites.  Just because you don’t know about or have never used some of these sites doesn’t mean you cannot register a username (if available) and at least keep others from getting a hold it.

If you find that a username is registered and being used to violate your trademark, consult an attorney and review the site’s policies for resolving disputes involving trademarks and usernames.

Favorite free trademark search sites

Posted by ipelton on: September 17th, 2009

When developing a new brand name, the second step (after brainstorming possible ideas) is to do some preliminary searching to see if there are any obviously conflicts in use that could present an infringement and/or registration issue.  Of course, it is also recommended that after you do some searching on your own, you consult an attorney for a comprehensive clearance search and analysis.  Without performing a clearance search, it is impossible to know whether another company is already using the same name or a confusingly similar one in the marketplace.  And only an attorney can help assess whether another name or use is “confusingly similar” or presents a trademark protection problem.

Here are some of my favorite sites for free searching of new names:

REMINDER: This list is just a start… consult an experienced attorney for more information about a clearance search.