Whether it is a business idea that you have been slowly manifesting for years or one that arose abruptly and is pushing ahead full-throttle, starting a new business is an exciting time for entrepreneurs. Often times, however, entrepreneurs will select a business or brand name that – while likely catchy – describes their goods or services exactly. For instance, envision a business that sells flowers being called “The Flower Shop” or a company that makes candles titled “Candle Co.” While these are very rudimentary examples, you get the idea. It’s easy to select a brand name that encompasses the goods and services your business provides, but from a trademark point of view, this can mean your mark may not be eligible for trademark registration as a merely descriptive or even generic mark.
Trademarks are broken down into different classifications, including fanciful, arbitrary, suggestive, merely descriptive, and generic. Fanciful and arbitrary trademarks are considered the strongest marks, with merely descriptive and generic being the weakest. A fanciful trademark is typically made up of words that only have meaning when applied to a good or service (think EXXON or XEROX). These marks themselves have no meaning other than to indicate a particular brand. While it can be difficult to devise an idea for a fanciful mark, it is best to try and develop one prior to the launch of your business.
There are many reasons why you should attempt to develop a fanciful brand name prior to launching your business. The top three reasons include:
A Traverse Legal attorney can help you understand the strength of your proposed brand name and conduct a Trademark Availability Assessment (“TMAA”) to determine what other confusingly similar marks exist and the risks involved with applying for a trademark. If our TMAA results in a determination that your brand name might be considered descriptive or generic (or likely to cause confusion, which is another, separate issue), you can redirect your path at a much smaller cost than if you were to dive right in with your brand name. If you have an idea for a brand name and want to know your options for potential trademark registration, contact Traverse Legal today.