Picking the Right Trademark for Your Brand

By Kenneth L. Sherman

Coming up with a name for your company, product or service is one of the most important decisions you make that will set the stage for your brand and your future marketing efforts. How do you pick the right name that will not only sound great, but one that will allow you to grow, market and protect your business? When it comes to picking the right name, or trademark, you have two options –

1. Describe what you do, or
2. Be creative

Descriptive Trademarks

The theory behind picking a descriptive trademark is that people will know what your business does by hearing the name alone. While this does offer a compelling benefit, a name that is merely descriptive of your business is unfortunately harder to protect at the U.S. Trademark Office.

Creative Trademarks

Creative trademarks have a higher chance of registration at the U.S. Trademark Office. The likelihood that there’s a potentially conflicting trademark or that your mark will be rejected as being “descriptive” drops as your mark becomes more arbitrary and creative . Additionally, a creative trademark better allows you to differentiate your goods or services from others. A creative trademark allows you to effectively grow your brand.

Think about all the major companies you encounter every day and assess their trademarks. More than likely, they have a creative mark. The U.S. Trademark office ranks trademarks in descending order of strength:

1. Fanciful– the strongest type of trademark, these are invented words – like Xerox or Google

2. Arbitrary– using ordinary words in new ways – like Apple for computers

3. Suggestive– words that suggest the nature or characteristics of goods/services – like Microsoft for software

4. Descriptive– merely describe your goods/services – like Frank’s Delicious Food Truck for a food

5. Generic– the common name for a product or service – like Florist for a florist

Strong marks are creative, original or otherwise memorable, without falling into the trap of describing your goods or services.

At the end of the day, a great trademark should be able to distinguish your goods/services from your competitor’s.

Before you fall in love with a specific trademark, it’s important to check the marks that are already out there to make sure your time and application fees are not wasted. Have you done a Google search to see if there is anything else out there? Have you searched the database of the trademark office to see already filed trademarks?

Sherman IP offers a trademark search service which includes a trademark search and consultation with your trademark attorney to discuss the search results. Our skilled and experienced trademark attorneys have the strategies and expertise required to navigate the trademark application process and ensures that your trademark is filed in the best position to be registered by the U.S. Trademark Office.