May 2, 2006
Product Naming: The Trademarking Hurdle
Did you know that the US Trademark office rejected a product name called Lotsa Suds? Or that well known brand names such as Tender Vittles, Chap Stick and Bufferin are actually very difficult trademarks to defend in court?
Trademark issues are becoming more and more complex and can bedevil a product name or brand name and a major part of what a naming company deals with on a daily basis. A recent article, What Not to Name Your Product, by Mark C. Jacobs, reminds us that a trademark is not a Service Mark and that trademarks are always “adjectives and not nouns". Jacobs means that there is no such thing as a "Buick" in the world of trademarks, but there is only a "Buick car".
I think that people who are not naming consultants may not be aware of a few other interesting things: it’s very hard to trademark a person’s last name and almost impossible to trademark a geographic name for a product or service that does not come from that place.
The fact is, if a trademark registration application is rejected, it is an incredible headache for the applicant. I believe that navigating these rough waters is part of the job of any good naming company that knows how to do the proper brand name research necessary to avoid trademark hassles.
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