The name of a product that your company manufactures or sells is one of the primary things that people look to protect with a trademark registration (the other being a service offering). Remember that when you register a trademark for a product, you’re protecting its distinctive name which identifies the product as a good sold by you or your company. A trademark for your product is the most effective way to ensure that no other company can potentially cut in on your profits by selling similar products or goods with your brand name on them. It safeguards the earning potential of your business. How can you trademark the name of your product? Follow these five steps.
1) Come up with a unique brand name for your product.
First, here’s what you want to avoid: descriptive or generic names for your products. If you think about it, there’s no way for those types of names to be unique – they’re the first qualities or associations that most people would have if they were selling a similar product. Examples of names that fall into this category are anything that probably seems obvious to you – things like “Salty Pretzels,” or “Canvas Shoes.”
The most surefire way to make sure you have a unique name? Invent a word – the United States Trademark and Patent Office refers to these as “coined terms.” Think of Kodak or Kleenex – they have no other meaning besides the brands that they refer to. They’re words created specifically to sell those products. And they have a lot of distinctiveness and brand equity.
Unrelated words or phrases are also typically successful – Apple Computers, for instance. Terms and words referred to by the USPTO as “suggestive” are also ideas – think of Poland Spring water or Energizer batteries. These names are more unique than descriptive names, but also do a better job of identifying the product than an arbitrary or coined name. That being said, after choosing the name for your product, you want to make extra certain that no one else has come up with your name before and registered it as a trademark (or is just using it in the marketplace). Getting through that research process is an important component of Step 2.