How to Trademark a Brand Name

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Creating a strong trademark means being able to protect it from other people using it for similar – and in some cases, dissimilar – purposes. If your objective is to be unique in your space and to prevent others from using your name, it’s important to create as distinct a mark as possible.

Trademarks are grouped into 45 different international trademark classes – 34 for products, and 11 for services. To protect your product, you generally only have to register your trademark in the relevant classes. However, you should try to be as forward-thinking as possible and anticipate possible extensions of your brand.

Firstly, you should check for existing marks which may be similar to your brand, to check whether there is an existing brand registered with the same, or a similar, name. The test is whether a customer would be likely to be confused by the two product names and make a purchasing mistake. You need to consider similarities in sound, appearance and meaning. However, these are not the only factors – otherwise, you couldn’t have a Ford Explorer and an Explorer internet browser, or an O magazine and an O line of organic products. Other factors a court will consider include:

– The distribution channels;

– Whether or not the products and services compete directly;

– The distinctiveness of the marks;

– Whether or not the names share the same customer base;

– The cost of the products.

Once you have registered your mark, you need to ensure that it is distinct enough to enable you to prevent others from using similar product names. Factors which determine distinctiveness include:

– Is the name coined, or is it a real word?

– How creative is the construction of the word?

– Does the name carry another meaning? For example, the maternity line called A Pea in the Pod is a play on words;

– The visual identity of the name – for example, a brand like Google has distinct visual identity;

– If the name is of an arbitrary nature – for example, consider Orange for a bank.

Finally, The more distinctive name, the stronger and more legally protectable it is.

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    2 Responses to “How to Trademark a Brand Name”

    1. Brianna Cox says:

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