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3 Reasons You Should Consider a “Fanciful” Brand Name Before Launching

Mallory King - January 24, 2020 - Brand Development, Trademark Law

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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.

What is a “Fanciful” Trademark?

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.

Why Should My Brand Name Be “Fanciful” Before Launching?

There are many reasons why you should attempt to develop a fanciful brand name prior to launching your business. The top three reasons include:

  1. Avoid the Time and Costs of Rebranding. If you are already fully invested in a brand name – business entity formed; website domain name acquired; social media handles secured; logo developed; merchandise created; etc. – and later find out that you are unable to achieve trademark registration, this can be a major blow to your brand’s integrity. Sure, some businesses opt to rely solely on common law trademark rights, but your enforcement capabilities are dwindled. Most of the time, ineligibility for trademark registration can cause a business to abandon ship and rebrand, which can be costly and set you back on your goals.
  2. More Likely to Achieve Trademark Registration. Marks that are fanciful and arbitrary are more likely to achieve federal trademark registration than those that are suggestive, descriptive, or generic (note: generic trademarks are incapable of being registered altogether). Having a registered trademark increases your brand’s strength and recognition, allowing you to be known and enforce your rights against infringement.
  3. Facilitate Creativity and Uniqueness. The market is saturated with brand names that are developed to describe exactly what their business provides. Taking a risk on creating a brand name that is not obviously associated with your goods and services will not only strengthen your trademark, but also help you stand out from the crowd.

How Can a Lawyer Help?

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.

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