2013
08.22

One of the considerations when naming a business is about trade marking it.  The good news is if you are reading this in the U.S, Canada or Great Britain then your business automatically gains its trademark simply by way of you using the company name in relation to your business.  Bearing this in mind, you might wonder why people worry about trademarks at all.

 

Do I need a Trademark?

Like other aspects of naming your business, it all comes down to forward planning and thinking ahead.  Your business trademark rights only extend as far as its geographic operations so if you ever intend to expand your business to other states or even internationally.

 

It is a good idea to check out that proposed business names have not already been trademarked elsewhere.  There have been several examples of even multi-national corporations becoming involved in massive lawsuits because as they expanded, they tried to take their already trademarked name with them into new territories.

 

Duration of Trademarks

A trademark typically lasts 5 or 10 years after which the owner has to renew it before it becomes free for anyone to use and if a trademark is taken to court then it will be judged on the likely confusion caused by the two organizations.  Are the goods being sold similar?  Do the trademarks have the same or similar meaning?

 

Types of Trademark

There are five levels of trademark the strongest of those are fanciful trademarks.  These are business names have been totally made up and which had no meaning before they were used as trademarks.  For a good example of this think Google.

The next most secure type of trademark is an arbitrary trademark.  These trademarks consist of commonly used English words being used as business names in a context that has no bearing on the services or products they are being applied to.  For example it would be impossible to trademark the word Orange with regards to fruit but in the world of mobile telecommunications Orange has a very strong trademark.

The third type is that of suggestive trademarks and these indirectly have reference to the types of services and goods which they are associated with.  An example of this is the business name Burger King which with just a small amount of imagination from customers infers their burgers are the biggest or best.

Descriptive trademarks are the fourth type and they are difficult to trademark.  Success depends on being able to prove that consumers associate the goods and services only with one company.  It is probably best to avoid such business names if you are just starting out or else it may be a brand name that cannot be legally protected.
Finally there are Generic Trademarks which are not in any way enforceable primarily because they describe a whole sector of goods and services. Try selling a line of carpets under the trademark of carpet and you won’t get very far.

 

Once again this all proves that it is worth thinking ahead and placing a bit of effort with your business name ideas.

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