The following is an edited transcript of my video Tips for Brainstorming New Business and Brand Names

Brainstorming for new brand names is really the genesis of brand protection. The better the name you come up with at the outset, the easier it’s going to be to protect, and more likely you’ll have stronger protection. It’s not easy to come up with a bold, unique, and protectable name, but it is still possible,

Begin with pieces of words and names. Think about suffixes, prefixes and syllables—not entire words.

Think about syllables that help resonate a message about your business, your brand, and what you’re trying to convey to the consumer, such as experience, youthfulness, novelty, wisdom, or any feature of your brand.

Next, start to think about combinations of those syllables in unique and new ways, or taking syllables and adding them to other words. Great brand names such as Netflix, Uber, and Amazon don’t immediately hit you over the head about what they’re doing, but when you know what they do, they strongly suggest something about it.

Once you’ve got some ideas for names, it’s important that you don’t focus on just one name from the outset, because if you find out that it’s not available, it can stifle the brainstorming process and make it harder to go back and generate new names.

Focus on a whole list of possibilities, and then whittle it down to 10 or so, then do some preliminary searching on major search engines and the USPTO website. Narrow it down then to 3-5 names.

At this point you want to talk to your trademark attorney and start to think about what’s possible. Are there any obvious conflicts? If not, should we order a comprehensive search? Nobody’s ever going to be able to tell you that a name is entirely risk-free, but hopefully you’ll end up with at least one that has a very low risk associated with it.

After you’ve worked with an attorney to do a comprehensive search and get the green light, you want to immediately file an intent to use trademark application and start protecting it.

Too often, businesses come up with a good name and then put it to the side while they work on getting the funding and details necessary to start the business—which can be a long process—but if they haven’t filed that trademark application, they’re completely exposed and vulnerable during that window of time. If somebody else happens to come up with a very similar name in a similar industry during that time, if there’s no application filed, that name could be very vulnerable by the time the business is launched.

Lots more on this subject here:

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