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How to Choose A Brand Name

by Brandnic Official 12/11/2019

You might have had plans that you’ve been working on for a number of years through college. You might be looking at launching a new company as a side hustle with a view to eventually leaving your full-time job to make your living from it. You might be financially independent and not need to work, and have decided now is the time to do something you always wanted to do.

Whatever the circumstances, what doesn’t change is the building blocks of what makes a great business, and a great brand.

Think about trust and reputation on a personal level. These are things you can spend years earning and building, but can lose in a couple of minutes, especially in today’s world where a careless social media post, or a video of you saying something you shouldn’t have, can spread like wildfire.

For a brand in the business world, it’s exactly the same.

The first building block of any new company and brand is the name. Depending on how successful your business becomes, your brand name could one day become synonymous with the product or service you provide.

How many people say “use a search engine”? How many say “Google it”?

what is your brand about

Remember the brand concept.

Google is admittedly an extreme example, but you’re starting your business and building your brand with ambition, right? Why not aim for the top?

Once you’ve got a brand name, you can start to build things like your brand identity, brand values and decide what your business really stands for beyond the simple objective of selling or providing something to generate revenue and profit.

Let’s take a look at how you can ensure you choose an amazing brand name and start your new business on a positive pathway to success.

Choosing a Brand Name Isn’t Easy!

A brand or company name isn’t just a cool catchy name that you like the sound of.

This can be one element of it, sure, but there has to be something beyond this.

Can your brand name communicate something to your customers, either directly or subconsciously?

Can your brand name tell your story in one or two words?

Coming up with a business name as an individual process can be easy. However, in today’s world you’re probably also going to be thinking about how it will look online, both from a website and social media perspective, not to mention whether anyone else has already got a brand with the same name.

brand name two words

Communicating your brand name in the market.

On day one, the only person who knows your brand from head to toe is you. Let’s take a look at how you can get to where you want to be.

The Potential Complexities of Designing and Choosing a Brand Name

The reality of business is that many people will get started and not actually understand what they’re trying to achieve themselves. This is a certain path to things not going as you want them to.

Before you get started, take the time to know yourself, the business and the brand you want to build!

business and name should be connected

Understand your business for your brand name.

You have to make sure of how you can connect with customers. Can your brand name also highlight what makes you unique and help you to stand out in a crowded global marketplace?

What Makes an Amazing Brand Name?

According to Source,

“91% of consumers would rather buy from an authentic brand,” while, “48% of consumers say their first purchase or interaction is the best time to earn their loyalty.”

Designing and choosing an amazing brand name could be the crucial step that makes you feel authentic, and give you that opportunity to wow customers with a first purchase or interaction and earn priceless brand loyalty from day one.

While it’s easy to go on a site like Fiverr to ask someone to come up with a business name for you at a very low cost, you should question whether this is a worthwhile path to authenticity. If you browse the site names at Brandnic, we’ve provided a short backstory around how we’ve come up with the name, and we allow you to revise the logo however you wish. Not only does this allow you to fall in love with your brand name, but you can add your own twist via the logo design, too.

Naming your brand or business might be a journey in itself.

Remember, if your brand goes where you want it to, it will be something that has a significant impact on everything you do, become a household name, and one day become synonymous with incredible quality and service in your industry.

With your long-term vision in mind, it pays to be as involved in the naming process as possible. Yes, seek constructive criticism, feedback, and advice, but you have to drive this.

What should you take into account when picking and designing a brand name?

keep your name original

Qualities of brand names: distinctive, accessible, protectable and futureproof.

1. Your Brand Name Has to Mean Something

It has to make sense, be cohesive with the brand essence and image you want to build, and to have a powerful impact on your customers.

2. Your Brand Name Has to Be Distinctive

While you might be planning for your brand to compete in a small niche, in the wider global context you will be competing with millions of other companies for attention.

How can you make your brand name unique, distinctive, memorable, and meaningful?

3. Your Brand Name Has to Be Accessible

Is your brand name easy to comprehend, spell, say, and search for? A brand that’s easy to misspell or no-one knows how to pronounce could give you an avoidable obstacle to deal with.

If you settle on a longer name, think about how you can abbreviate it.

GSK is almost universally recognized as GlaxoSmithKline, for example.

4. Ideally, Your Brand Name Will Be Protectable

Look to choose a company name that you can trademark, read details on How to Trademark your Company?

Part of the brand naming process should also be checking that a suitable website domain name is available, that you can buy and lock down into your possession for as long as you need to.

5. Can You Make Your Brand Name “Futureproof”?

No-one knows what the future will hold. With that said, how is it even possible to futureproof a brand name?

The trick here is to try and avoid anything that may stop you from diversifying.

essential rules to consider while choosing a name for your brand

The essence of a brand name: attractive, easy to remember, clear and natural.

Had Bezos come up with a name for his brand that involved the word “Books”, for example, what impact might that have had in the future when the business diversified into selling other products?

When Designing and Choosing a Brand Name, start to Think About Your Brand’s Visual Identity

You don’t need to be designing a full set of brand guidelines at this stage, but you should be definitely thinking about what your brand and company name will look like on your website, on a business card, and even on the side of a van or an airplane!

By choosing one of our brand names and logos here at Brandnic, you’ll get ahead as you’ll already have some idea of your brand’s visual identity.

Choosing one of our ideas can also be ideal if you aren’t sure where to begin when it comes to a company name and brand identity.

Preserving Your Core Identify Within Your Brand Name

Who are you?

If someone asks you that question, what is the answer?

We’re not just talking about your name, your background, how old you are and where you’re from.

WHO are you?

don't forget about authenticity

Knowing your brand: mission, vision, and values.

What beliefs drive who you are, the way you act, and what your objectives are.

Now, answer these questions about your brand.

Giving this some thought will help you travel further down the path of creating a memorable brand name. At the same time, if you are unsure as to the answers to those questions, you might need to stop thinking of a brand name right now and simply think about why you’re bringing this new business into existence.

In establishing and preserving your core identity, you should be thinking about:

1. Your Brand’s Mission

What does your company do? What makes it unique?

2. Your Brand’s Vision

Why does your company exist? What is the bigger picture beyond your mission of what you’re trying to achieve for your customers?

3. Your Brand’s Values

What are the specific beliefs and behaviors that underpin your mission and values? How do you go about your business and delivering outstanding products or services to your customers? What makes your brand remarkable in this respect?

Being able to address each of these three areas will help you to understand your purpose and both help you to select an amazing name now as well as underpinning how you operate in the long-term.

Knowing Your Audience

Many brands make the mistake of launching and then thinking about their audience and how they can effectively target them.

If you want to be successful, and come up with an appealing brand name, it pays to know exactly who you’re trying to appeal to from day one. How can you be as specific as possible and tie this into your brand name design and choice?

If you can design a brand name and launch with strong branding to appeal to your main target demographic, you could enjoy strong growth from day one.

don't forget about future clients

Knowing your brand audience: age, gender, location, income, and influences.

Take the below factors into consideration when determining who your ideal audience is.

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Location
  • Education Level
  • Income
  • Goals & Motivations
  • Existing Brand Affinities
  • What Influences Them?

Once you’ve identified your ideal customer, or even come up with a handful of different customer profiles, you could even test these out via online research or do your own local research to see what resonates with people.

Time to Brainstorm!

Sometimes, you’re just going to need to sit down in a room, either by yourself or with others, lock the doors, and see what you can come up within a couple of hours.

If you’re totally stuck for ideas, a great thing to do is to apply the “so what?” principle.

brainstorming is an effective option while choosing the brand name

Applying business principles and strategy.

You have a business. So what?

It provides this specific service. So what?

It does it better because of X, Y, and Z. So what?

You can do this yourself or get someone to “so what?” you. What you’re trying to tease out of this is why your business is unique and stands out.

You can also apply this principle to some of the steps earlier, but it’s a great one to help you unlock your thinking or if you feel like you’ve hit a wall creatively.

Different Types of Brand Names

There are several different types of brand names. None are particularly better than the others, all that matters is that yours feels authentic, both to you and to your customers. Let’s take a look at some of the different concepts of brand name types.

1. Founder Brand Names

Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, Donna Karan, Vivienne Westwood – we could go through a whole range of brands that are named for their founders. The advantage of picking this category is that it is a pretty straightforward process. You just use your name and add what you do.

2. Fabricated Brand Names

It’s totally acceptable to make up a new word or a brand name. What can you creatively come up with?

Think about companies like Xerox, Kodak, Tivo, and Verizon. All four of these brands were just pulled out of someone’s creative thoughts, and today are all synonymous with the product or service they provide. Making up something out of the blue might be the best approach to take, as you stand a greater chance of a web domain being available and being able to copyright protect it down the line.

All you need to make sure you do is come up with a catchy, simple name if you go down this path. Remember the examples we gave just now!

3. Metaphors as Brand Names

Choosing a brand name that can be a metaphor can help give meaning and reflect specific imagery onto your brand. You could choose a place, a person, or an animal, for example.

Think about the example we gave right at the start of the article. Why did Bezos settle on Amazon again?

think about metaphors and acronyms

Metaphors and acronyms names.

4. Acronyms as Brand Names

An acronym will often become your brand name by default.

For example, most people will know HBO as HBO and not as “Home Box Office”.

You can use an acronym as your brand name if you wish, but it’s best to ensure it’s catchy and the actual name makes sense when you have to answer what the letters in the acronym stand for. These can be highly strategic brand names but might cause you issues when trying to grow, as in the short term at least you’ll always find yourself explaining what our acronym means.

Checking If Your Brand or Company Name is “Available”

This can be the toughest part of the whole process if you go it alone. You come up with a great business name, have a stunning brand concept in mind, then discover there’s already a company, website, or trademarked product or service with the same name.

It’s important to search for a trademark name online

Depending on your location, there will be a wealth of tools available to check company names and trademarks, and whether these are local or global trademarks. If you’re unsure, then look to speak with an attorney for guidance.

don't forget to search for a trademark name online

Check the Trademark within the jurisdiction of your business.

It is also worth checking that your name doesn’t say something negative or suggestive when translated into other languages if you plan on going global with your brand. For example, the popular Brazilian beer Brahma is called “Brahva” in some Central American countries, as “brahma” can mean “horny” in this region!

Testing Out Your Brand or Business Name

If your brand name is good and available, it’s time to take it out and test it with the public before you go all out and launch it.

There are a number of ways you can do this.

You can keep it as simple as asking people whether they like the name, and what they think of when they hear the name. Alternatively, you could create a mock website, packaging, or other assets and ask people what they think.

test the name before you launch it


Communicate your brand name message in the right way.

You could even set up a live landing page and run some Facebook advertising to see how people react to the name and your branding. Add a survey to the landing page, A/B test different designs and names, and do anything else that will help you get a clear idea of whether people like your brand.

Summarising the Top Tips for Choosing an Amazing Brand Name

 

1. Know What You’re Trying to Achieve

What is the business you are naming? What does it want to achieve?

Remember, think about WHO you are.

Clarify what you’re trying to achieve, and this whole process will become much easier. It might take you longer to get to the final idea, but you can cross unsuitable ideas and names out of your thought process far quicker.

2. Know Your Target Audience

A business that doesn’t take the time to understand its target audience isn’t really a business at all and will be lucky if it enjoys even moderate success.

3. Know What You Want Your Brand Name and Message to Communicate

We’ve only looked at the brand name as a specific matter in this article, but you also need to be thinking about your wider brand message.

What is your brand name and message going to communicate? You should be focused on communicating an image of excellence, trustworthiness, and authenticity.

If your brand name does nothing else but conveys these three attributes, you’ll already be a long way towards success.

Conclusions

Choosing a name for your brand is like choosing a name for your child. It isn’t something that you can take lightly, and it’s something that they will carry around for years. Your brand name will hopefully become much more than an identifier of who you are. It will come to represent your brand, become synonymous with what you do, and be shared positively across the world.

While you might have a wealth of business ideas ready to unleash on the world, it’s definitely worth taking the time to fully invest in creating a powerful name that is going to stand the test of time.

Perhaps most importantly, you should recognize that this is just the first step in the longer-term process of building your brand. The name is simply the first, but crucial, foundation from which you will look to build in the coming years.

Remember that if you need assistance in choosing a brand or company name, Brandnic can help you.

rely on us while choosing your brand name

Choosing the right name.

We offer a wealth of naming options for your business, ensure that you have a domain to go with the name, and can help you to get started with your wider brand and visual identity too while allowing you to take ownership and add authenticity via your own ideas through a revised logo design.



How to Trademark A Company Name

by Brandnic Official 12/11/2019

Who holds the trademark name, ‘Apple,’ is it the Beatles or Apple?

Well, technically Beatles came up with ‘Apple Corps,’ and after 8 years, Steve Jobs created ‘Apple Inc.’ The two mega giants are in battle since.

Can you even imagine the word ‘Apple’ being a trademark? Apple paid a large settlement to the Beatles for their trademark. But after the launch of iTunes, the trademark battle was heated up again and got settled by Apple Corporation losing the case and Apple Inc. gaining control over the trademark.

Someone wise once said that prevention is better than cure. So, if you are planning to launch a music company or any food company, I would suggest that you avoid the word ‘Apple’ and use some other fruit instead.

But you might be asking how to trademark a company name?

That is a quick question to ask. Let’s get straight to it.

Choosing a Trademark

In the United States, there are two types of Trademarks.

Two Kind of Trademarks

Two Types of Trademarks

The first one (™) can be used by anyone.

If a conflict arises in the use of the mark, it is resolved legally, and the earliest party wins the case. The trademark is acquired by the United States Patent and Trademark office.

The second trademark is a registered trademark (®)

This means that no one can use the process of the company, and to deal with this, it is good to take some legal advice before you use any trademark.

Why should you trademark your business name?

2012 was a special year for Beyoncé and Jay-Z. Their daughter, Blue Ivy Carter, was born with a silver spoon in her mouth. The parents applied their daughter’s name. Wait. What? You might be thinking, can a baby name be trademarked? Well, it did with Jay-Z and Beyoncé because they planned to launch a product line by their baby’s name.

When a baby can have her name as a trademark, what is the reason that your business doesn’t need one?

What does it mean to trademark your name? Does it matter in the long haul? How will you benefit from it? These are just a few questions that can force you to register a trademark for your brand.

There are many trademark cases still waiting for a verdict in court. You are not planning to end in court.

There are a few reasons that can help you understand the importance of trademark and why your business needs a trademark?

  • A trademark reveals the emotional connection that a brand has with its values, mission, and people. When a business trademark a name, it is more like naming your baby. When you name your baby, you establish a deeper connection with that baby.
  • In a highly crowded digital space, a trademark makes it easy for customers to find you.
  • Trademark is an asset in disguise. When you trademark a business, it means that the company has more opportunities to expand from one industry to another without affecting the core brand. Furthermore, it gives more giant corporations to acquire your brand without feeling worried about any trademark sue.
  • Businesses who trademark their brand shows how serious a business is for their brand. This emits positive energy to the existing employees and even attract new employees who are willing to get associated with something personal.

Brands are a critical asset, which is why trademark a name is significant for a new business or even for older ones.

secure your trademark

Secure your Digital Asset

I’ve been around successful entrepreneurs, and some of them failed massively at some point. But, during their business life, all of them asked this question more than once, do I need to trademark my business name? As easy as it sounds, it is a hard choice to make.

Another question that bothers startups is, do I need to trademark my business name and logo?

The simple answer to both the questions is yes. If you are serious about scaling your business. If you believe that one day, you’ll create a brand worth talking about, then you must begin by filing a trademark application for your business.

Recognizing Trademark Name Restrictions

The trademark will give you an exclusive right to use words, phrases, and symbols in your business that will become the identity of your business. In short, you must be careful what phrases you trademark because they will become your identity in the future.

Note: To learn how to trademark a slogan – read our in-depth guide on it.

When Beyoncé filed a trademark for the Blue Ivy trademark, it was allowed easily because the parents intended to use the name for personal reasons. They were planning to sell baby-related products. So, Beyoncé prevented other people from using her daughter’s name to sell anything.

One thing to remember here is that you trademark a name for the protection it must be unique. A generic title like “Hot Coffee” or “Tom” might not be qualified for being a trademark. When “Blue Ivy” is used as a brand name, it gives it meaning. Just like Apple is for computers, Blue Ivy will become a brand name for baby-products or whatever brand the parents are willing to start.

understanding trademark restrictions

Understanding the Concept for Trademark Restrictions.

A trademark will increase its value. Moreover, names like “Google” or “Microsoft” are made-up of suggestive names that define the qualities of the product or service that they are associated with.

When applying, it is necessary that you trademark something that doesn’t create even a binge of confusion. You might consider every possibility that there is no product or service related to your brand name.

Every trademark application must provide full details about the products/services that will be offered within the brand name. Confusion often arises when similar marks are used on related goods, and customers find it hard to identify the difference. It is hard to start, but with a bit of research in the market, you’ll be able to come up with a unique trademark name that won’t be copied or used in any case.

How to trademark a business name?

To trademark your business, you can use the following steps:

Step 1: Figure out the type of trademark

The first step that you need to get yourself a brand name

To ensure that your trademark fits on the US Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO). The trademark must be non-intuitive, which means there should be no double meaning for the trademark.

The USPTO divides marks into four categories that will determine the strength of your trademark. From weaker to the strongest, you’ll in which category your trademark will exist.

Registering Trademark

How to Trademark a Company Name

1.Fancy Trademarks:

This is the most reliable type of trademark. There is an insignificant chance that a company or an individual will use this trademark. This comprises of made-up words and also words that are not associated with any product or business. For instance, if you have a shoe company, “Brontox” can be a unique name that you can use. It is fancy and unique at the same time, and there is no chance that anyone will be using this type of name.

2. Suggestive:

As the name itself suggests, this kind of trademark is used to describe specific traits of the service or the product. The trademark type is not as strong as a fancy trademark, but still, you can get suggestive mark easily as it will be relevant to your business. A good example might be using “Bright & Soft” as a tagline for a t-shirt company.

3. Descriptive:

This is considered a weak mark. There is a chance that other people are already using the trademark that you plan to use. So, it will take some hit and try to get a trademark that you want to use. One of the most straightforward examples for this mark is a cleaning service using “Wash & Scrub with ease.”

4. Generic:

It’s nearly impossible to trademark anything that lies in this category. These types of trademarks are often used commonly in conversations, so it is impossible to enforce any trademark on such words. For example, if you try to name a company “Lantern,” it would be difficult to trademark it as it is generic.

Step 2: Search if the trademark already exists

You can use the Trademark Electronic Search System, TESS, to search in the trademark database. You’ll be able to search if your desired trademark is available or not.

Step 3: Fill the Trademark application

In the next step, you have to fill the form online from the USPTO website.

If you were doing it for the first time, you could start by reading trademark basics, which will give you a vague idea about the requirement and which type of trademark you need for your business.

Step 4: Paying the Fee

Depending upon the type of your business, you’ll be required to pay a fee for your trademark. Check out the basic fee structure, which will help you decide better.

Step 5: After filling the application

Once you’ve applied, there are a few things that you must note.

  • It can take several months before you get anything from USPTO.
  • You should monitor the TESS database, which will help to inform you about the progress of your application.
  • You will get either “Allowed” or “Published for the opposition” from USPTO.

Step 6: Respond quickly to USPTO

The USPTO will review your application and contact you if you correct your errors or if your application is not approved. Once you get the reply, you must respond to USPTO fast. Don’t be disheartened if the application gets rejected the first time. At times the examiners at USPTO make mistakes, or they are just looking for some more clarification from your side. If you can, it would be good to hire an attorney who can help you to send an excellent reply to USPTO.

Step 7: Administer your trademark

You might learn how to trademark a company name and apply everything in your hand to keep it that way. But USPTO will not enforce trademark, other than just preventing other people from using your brand name.

Once your trademark is approved, it is your responsibility to take legal action if you see that someone is using your trademark. If you don’t enforce the trademark and other people start using it, your trademark can lead to the “Generic” category, which means that you might lose the trademark.

For how long a trademark lasts?

You might ask, how long does the trademark last? Well, to keep your trademark intact, you just need to do some additional USPTO filings.

Initially, your trademark will last for five years; then, you will have to renew after ten years.

As mentioned earlier and it is worth repeating it here again. You must keep checking the TESS database and the internet from time to time to spot any infringements that have been done before it gets too late.

trademark life

Trademark Last for 10 Years

Ensure that you use the “circle-R” mark ® along with the trademark so that people recognize it as soon as they see it. The “circle-R” is used for products, services, or goods if you have a brand so you can use TM or ™ so that it will be clear what type of trademark you are using.

Don’t use ® or ™ with the company name to identify the company or even particular goods or services that are being used with your brand.

What to do when someone trademarked your business name?

Imagine you’ve worked hard to design a business name or logo or establish your branding. You can quickly stop other companies from using it.

It is a bit confusing. The trademark laws are a bit confusing, so even the smartest businessman won’t know what to do. Of course, USPTO has various tutorials, FAQs, and guides that can help you to move forward with trademark infringement; some tips can help you do things efficiently.

someone trademarked your business

Protecting your Business

The following steps will turn the process less stressful and painful for you. You might go through these tips, but if you don’t know or understand anything about trademark infringement, it is highly recommended to hire an attorney.

But with the following steps, I hope that some pain with go away, and you’ll not use common names like zippers, aspiring, or even escalators, which might be trademarked names of the brands.

Step 1: Is it a Trademark Infringement?

Before you get angry and jump into a lawsuit, it is wise to know that if the problem exists or not. Let us review some facts that will clear your mind, and then you can discuss with your attorney if you still plan to file a lawsuit.

Trademark Infringement

Checking Trademark Infringement

  • First, the trademark infringement will occur when the consumer gets confused among the use of the trademark, whether it is being used for multiple goods or products. For the same reason, Delta Airlines & Delta faucets are handled separately. When you plan on designing the bathroom you will probably not in a mood to buy an airline ticket by mistake. If someone uses your trademark, is it confusing your customers?
  • The next step is to consider the location. If you open a flower shop in New York and someone with the same name opens a flower shop in California, this is not an infringement at all. Because both the states have their customer database, and no one will be mixing.
  • If you can scale the business on a global scale, you might be in a good position to file an infringement irrespective of the location. The most common case is an eCommerce store. There is no geographic barrier to online presence so that it can affect both the businesses in some way.
  • Another thing that you must know about trademark law is the sound, sight, and meaning of the mark. So, even if you add an “s” to make it plural, that will not be sufficient to distinguish from each other. Or if you are planning to open a fast-food restaurant and making it, “McDowell’s” won’t help you to prevent it from being sued.

Step 2: Take action

If you came to know that your business name is being used by any other business or your customers are being confused because of the two names, or if you think that your name is being used in the same geographic location, you must think of taking action.

Firstly, contact and discuss it with your attorney. The attorney will help you to go through these steps smoothly:

  • The first action that you must take is to send a cease and desist letter to the business that is infringing your business name and demanding them to stop using your mark. Check out this sample letter that will help you to get a good start. Just review it with an attorney before you send it to anyone.
  • Id, the alleged person, doesn’t stop using your trademark, then the next step is to file a lawsuit in federal court. This will prevent further use of your mark, and you’ll get the money for additional damage. You can easily ask the court to pay you money for the damages that your brand has endured because of the infringement.
  • If the dispute is regarding using a domain name, you can file a lawsuit. If you are willing to go full, you can file a complaint with ICANN’s approved dispute resolution
  • The Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy – (UDRP) is established by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) for the resolution of issues and disputes opened up against domain cybersquatting, until unless you get your brand name from Brandnic.com where you are sure that you can establish your own brand without having a fear of getting a UDRP on your business.
  • You must file complaints keeping in mind the state and federal courts. You can try to use “common law” rights to an extent, but for anyone to take you seriously, you must take help from federal protection law along with USPTO. The domain name registries will demand a federal trademark so that you can easily protest someone else’s domain.
  • This is why it is essential that you apply for trademark protection as soon as you launch your business, product, or even a service. Mostly, the small business owners make this mistake of not filing a trademark until it is too late. And when they realize, it becomes nearly impossible to fight for who owns the name or who was first using the name. Therefore, it is wise that you make the decision fast and trademark your product/service as soon as possible.
solving dispute

Try to Resolve Dispute with a Direct Negotiations

If someone has trademarked my business name, it is wise that you try to deal it personally before going for a lawsuit. Because when you file a lawsuit, it will cost money, and your valuable time will be wasted. But, if the other party doesn’t move back, then you must file a lawsuit so that no one else can even think of using your name, service, or product for granted.

To Wrap it all

In most cases, a duplicate name won’t cause problems if they have different customer demographics. Because as mentioned earlier, both the customer market won’t get a chance to interact with each other so there will be nothing to worry about.

If you are planning to scale your business on a global scale, then it is quite necessary to trademark your company name, product, or service. When you do so the customers from every corner of the world will know that it is your brand name and only you are operating the brand. This is the typical case with eCommerce websites where the owner doesn’t realize the reach of the customer, and as time passes it gets difficult for them to file a trademark. Because after a specific time it is difficult to figure out who owns the real business name.

The steps mentioned above will give you a clear picture of how to trademark a company and why it is essential to trademark a company in the first place. Regardless of everything, it will be your choice of how you want your business to proceed. A trademark for your business name will surely benefit you in the long haul, and you won’t have to worry about any sudden surprises.

Brandnic helps entrepreneurs to get a brand identity in the shape of a business domain name that they can own and get started with their online venture.



How to Trademark A Slogan

by Brandnic Official 11/11/2019

The identity of your company is more profound than the logo and name that appears on your website, business card, or letterhead.

If you look at the leading companies in the world right now, you’ll notice they have some sort of phrase they always use.

This phrase is frequently used to summarize and enhance their brand identity. It can come in the form of a tagline, motto, slogan or a catchphrase.

When a slogan is used effectively, it goes a long way in contributing to the company’s perception by the public. It complements the company’s logo, name, service, and product.

The question in the mouth of most business owners is: how to trademark a slogan?

We’ve listed the steps and everything you need to know that will make the process as easy as possible for you.

What Is a Trademarked Slogan?

First and foremost, it is essential that you understand what a trademark is. A unique symbol or motto that differentiates a company or product from another business.

When you register a trademarked slogan, you are taking your business a step higher. You’re creating a connection between your brand and the message you’re sending to customers.

examples of trademarked slogans

Slogans Registered as a Trademark

This will also go a long way in enhancing your marketing efforts. At the same time, it’ll also add immense value to your company.

The moment you trademark a phrase or slogan, your company has the exclusive right to use the slogan to make money.

At any time, you can protect your slogan from infringements of any kind. That’s not all, you can also take infringers to court and sue for damages.

Things to Avoid When Trademarking a tagline

A common mistake made by most businesses is that they register ad campaigns as trademarked slogans. They are two different things.

Before you can trademark a slogan, the following definitions have to be met:

The slogan has to be catchy and creative to leave an impression on the audience.

Take a look at the American food chain, KFC, and their “Finger Lickin’ Good” slogan.

It has a different meaning that instantly brings a smile and a feeling of something very tasty.

avoid generic words while creating a slogan

Generic Words not to be used when Registering a Trademark

Slogans like this are very common when they are being used in advertising or commerce.

It also has to be used consecutively for nothing less than five years.

A perfect example of a tagline like this is “America Runs on Dunkin” by, Dunkin’ Donuts.

Slogans that can’t be trademarked

Keep in mind that you can’t trademark every slogan you come across.

examples of slogans that are impossible to trademark

Some slogans can’t be registered as a trademark

Eventually, it is impossible to get approved for a Trademark for generic words, some of them denied trademark slogans examples are:

  • Walmart – Trademark Denied
    Words or tagline which has generic meaning, An example of such is from Walmart, who wanted to trademark “The yellow smiley face design” got denied as the court strongly ruled that the smiley face is public domain.
  • Harley Davidson – Trademark Denied
    Tagline or phrases use common products or services promotional words like Harley Davidson, who wanted to trademark “The sound of a revving engine<” got denied due to other manufacturers complained that their engines sounded exactly the same.

In all situations, the intellectual property that will be trademarked must be distinctive and unique.

The same way you can trademark a slogan, it can also be done to a logo, business name, symbol, phrase or a blend of various elements

Why a Trademarked Slogan or a Tagline is important

A slogan “such as a tagline or phrase<” can attain value over time. It can also play a significant role in the success of your business.

So it is vital to protect any phrase you use to safeguard the identity of your company against infringements. This can only be done by registering the slogan for trademark.

Once this is done, you are protected by law throughout the country. Your competitors or other similar businesses cannot hinder your success by making use of a similar phrase to promote or sell their goods and services.

Let’s go into details of the kinds of phrases or slogans that can be trademarked. We’ll also talk about the steps to take to register them.

Most times, people get confused when the issue of trademarking a phrase arises. This becomes more difficult when they discover how many everyday and common phrases are registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

effective slogan can enhance your brand's identity

Importance of Registering a Slogan – A Brand Identity

Understand that registering a trademark does not stop the use of the phrase in future use. What it does is to strictly prevent your competitors from using the phrase or anything similar in selling a service or product like yours.

Coming up with a Slogan

After several brainstorming sessions, you’ve settled on a slogan – the perfect combination of brief, witty and informative.

You display it conspicuously on all your marketing messages, social media, and website. The best part is, your customers are not just responding well to it, they also love it.

At this moment, even though you haven’t filed any paperwork, a trademark has already been created.

One good thing going on for your business is that you are protected locally from all kinds of infringement attempts on your right to profit from the phrase you’ve chosen.

With the amount of effort you had to put into coming up with an awesome tagline, the ideal thing to do is to ensure you no one can profit from it. Regardless of the company’s size and location.

Keeping the slogan exclusively to yourself is the next step.

To do this, you would have to file a registration with USPTO (the United States Patent and Trademark Office)

Essential Steps to Trademark Your Name or Phrase

The first step in this process is to carry out a search of registered marks. This is to ensure that you are actually the first to use this phrase for your business.

Do a Trademark Search:

  • Go through the TESS database of USPTO to ensure that your chosen slogan has not been trademarked by another person.
  • The moment you’ve confirmed this, you can now submit a trademark application to the USPTO.
  • Once your application is received, the review process will start immediately.

After you’ve submitted your slogan application with the USPTO. You have to pay the filing fee to continue the process.

analyze TESS database to avoid repeatings

Searching USPTO to ensure that the phrase is original

Your application should contain:

  1. Specimen of the trademark
  2. Statement of use
  3. Drawing of the trademark
  4. List of other established instances of the use

Now is the time to be patient, as this process may span several months. Usually, it can take between five months to a year.

During this period, here are some of the things that would happen;

An attorney will review your application. Your application will be thoroughly vetted to ensure it does not conflict or infringe upon any trademark that has been already registered.

The moment your phrase is deemed unique, it will be verified, and your application will be moved to the next stage, which is the Publication stage.

This is the stage where your trademark registration is put on a notice nationwide. In this stage, all parties are given a chance to object to your application if they believe an infringement has taken place.

The moment your phrase successfully passes through the publication stage, the attorney in charge of reviewing your application will carry out a final verification. If this is successful, congratulations, you’ve finally gotten a registered trademark. Now, you have adequately protected your slogan from any kind of infringement, thanks to your trademark registration. At this point, it may look like your job is done. On the contrary, your job is not over yet. As the trademark holder, you have to be on alert that no business infringes on your intellectual property. The ball is in your court to either be proactive or not.  After 5 years, your trademark registration has to be renewed again.

Here are some things to remember.

Ideally, your slogan or phrase is considered to be “in use” the moment you start the trademark registration process.

What this means is that you have publicly declared the slogan in connection with your company or business. If the slogan does not enter the “in use” status, you’ll have to go through extra steps during registration. Also, a way to know if there’s an infringement on your trademark is if there’s a risk of confusion between your service or product with that of another company.

As a result, not every instance of the slogan is protected, only those that can be easily mistaken for your company or offering, and could pose a problem for your business.

The importance of starting the trademark registration process for your slogan cannot be understated. You need to start as soon as possible.

The trademark registration process can sometimes stretch for months but shouldn’t take more than eight months.

For months, nothing would be done on your application, but a patient wait should an objection or review occur.

You are in a favorable position to fight against an infringement claim, unlike in a situation where you have to make a claim against another person or business that may be infringing on your slogan.

This can happen if your slogan becomes a lucrative commodity faster than you expect.

By safeguarding yourself beforehand, you can avoid any form of legal problems and prospective business losses in the future.

 

Advantages of Trademarking a Slogan

 

1. Protection from other competitors

The moment you’ve registered all the basics, your slogan, name of business, logo, etc. You can carry out your operations without any worries.

This implies that other companies in the same line of business as you cannot use your slogan in any way. Should a situation like this occur, you can take them to court with an assurance that you’ll win.

2. Build a customer’s trust

When your customers identify your trademark slogan every time they buy your goods or services, they are sure that it is authentic.

This way, you get to build trust between you and your customers.

3. Your business and brand name is protected on social media

Most social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest have strict policies when it comes to trademarks.

This is the reason most businesses have social media accounts with these unique brand names. Companies trust that their interests are always protected.

If an individual or a competitor creates a page or account using your trademark slogan in any form.

There’s no need to worry, all you have to do is to provide evidence to support your claim.

In no time, the account or page will be taken down or suspended. The URL can then be used to create your own account or business page.

4. You can validate your business

Before you launch your business and you start spending lots of effort and time in brand marketing with a particular slogan. You will know if another person is using the slogan when you begin the registration process.

This way, you get to avoid the pitfall of changing your slogan over again, so your customers don’t lose touch with your business.

It would not be helpful to find out after a year or two that you need to rebrand because your chosen slogan is in use by another business.

5. Increases the value to your business

In the future, should you decide you want to sell your company, you’ll be at an advantage.

The value of your company is higher with a registered slogan when compared to a company that doesn’t have one yet.

Potential buyers are assured that they can keep the brand’s slogan for as long as they want.

6. Protection against Cybersquatting

By having a registered trademark, no one can purchase a domain name with your trademark.

If it happens and you become aware of it, you can request to have it shut down.

You can file this request with the hosting company where the domain name was registered.

7. It is inexpensive to register a trademark.

There is an erroneous notion by lots of people that it is expensive to trademark a slogan. Nothing can be farther from the truth.

In fact, the opposite is the case. It doesn’t cost much, and it would save you a lot when compared to the stress of having an unprotected slogan.

8. You Can Lay Claim to Your Ad Campaign

There are several companies that frequently use a particular slogan in their advertising campaign.

If this situation applies to your business, it is advisable for you to get exclusive rights to that slogan.

Ad campaigns that meet the requirements above are eligible.

9. You Can Build Your Brand

The moment you have a trademark, you can stop others from using or profiting from your distinctive, and creative slogan.

This way, your business will stand out and get the attention it needs to grow. Your brand will also become more desirable to your customers.

 

Disadvantages of Registering a Trademark

 

1. Government procedures

A lot of people dread dealing with the government most of the time. This is because of how stressful it is.

The processes for registration are always long, and with several bureaucratic bottlenecks, you’ll have to wait for a long time to get what you need.

2. The amount of time and effort needed to get a trademark

Most people are always busy and do not have the time or the patience to go through with trademark registration. As a business owner, there are several things that require your immediate attention daily.

It becomes more challenging if you run the entire business alone.

The paperwork to file a trademark is quite much, and you’ll have to fill out each and every one.

When you want to register, there are other things needed for you that you’ll have to get.

3. A dispute can still arise

During the waiting period, anyone who feels you’re infringing on their slogan or that you don’t have a right to a particular slogan can challenge your trademark.

The only way to settle this is in a law court and it would cost you a ton in legal fees.

4. Your Slogan Is Purely Descriptive

If your slogan falls in this category, you can’t file a trademark for it.

This means that it merely describes your company’s offerings. This falls short of the requirements by the USPTO.

5. A slogan can be yours without a trademark

Any business can adopt a slogan for their brand without registering a trademark. This leaves them vulnerable to exploitation.

To be on the safe side, and to stop others from profiting from or using it, a trademark has to be filed.

6. You don’t Use the Slogan Frequently

Even a distinctive and creative slogan might not meet the criteria for trademark. If legitimate use has not been established already, your case might not be strong enough to register your trademark.

Before making a decision concerning your business, it is reasonable to consider the pros and cons. In this case, you know what you need to do.

It doesn’t matter if the process will take a while before your trademark application is accepted. In the end, the benefits your business will get from it would outweigh whatever you went through to get it.

It makes no sense to invest in a company or ad campaign that could pose a problem in the future, all because you didn’t get a trademark for your slogan.

Frequently Asked Questions

 

1. How much does it cost to Trademark a slogan?

The filing fee for a USPTO trademark is between $225 – $400.

You will have to pay extra for some amendments, extensions, and maintenance.

2. How Long Does It Take to Trademark a Slogan?

After your application has been filed, you should get a response in six months or less.

Most trademark applications are approved by the USPTO within a year.

3. How Long Do Slogan Trademarks Last?

When a slogan is actively used, the trademarks will last for 10 years.

All trademarks can be renewed indefinitely.

4. Trademark Renewal

The renewal dates are very important. If they are ignored, the USPTO will be forced to cancel your registration.

  • Apart from the requirement to show that you’re using your trademark frequently, you have to renew the registration every ten years.
  • The renewal usually costs more. Presently, the government fee is pegged at $300 for each class of goods or services.
  • The renewal and The Declaration of Use are done through the official website of the USPTO website. This is done via TEAS, the agency’s electronic filing system.
  • The required data can be entered in a form, credit card information, and upload images, and you’ll get a confirmation by email.
  • All dates for renewal are measured from the date your trademark registration was issued. It is important not to confuse this for the date the application was filed or the date the application was published.

5. What slogans you can’t trademark

These slogans you can’t make your trademark

  • You can’t trademark an Informational slogan.
  • You can’t trademark slogans that are entertaining or informational nature especially if they’re nonprofit.

6. Trademarking Mere Ornamentations are not allowed

Some trademarks contain original designs. All design elements must be important to a logo.

The USPTO does not allow trademarks for elements made just for looks. In addition, the USPTO does not grant trademarks for artworks that are original.

7. Not Using Your Trademarked Slogan

If you do not have intentions of using a slogan, you should not file a trademark application.

This often leads to trademark cancellation, abandonment, and nonuse.

When this happens, other parties or businesses can use abandoned or canceled trademarks. The moment you do this, the possibility of losing your exclusive rights increases.

8. Not Maintaining Your Trademark

As required by the USPTO, all trademark owners are mandated to continue registration so the trademark can be kept active.

You have to show continuous use five years after your first trademark date. You also need to request a it’s renewal every ten years.

If this necessary maintenance is not done, the USPTO will not hesitate to cancel the trademark.

9. If my slogan is trademarked in the USA, does it works for the rest of the world?

According to The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, if a slogan is trademarked in the US, it doesn’t apply to the rest of the world.

Trademarks and Patents are territorial. To be recognized outside the shores of America, it must be filed in every country they seek protection.

If you are looking to trademarking a business? Read our  guide about How to Trademark a Company Name

There are several ways to register a trademark internationally without the need for registering in each country. The international registration system is known as the Madrid Protocol or Madrid system.






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