Selecting and protecting your “brand” should begin from the very moment a business is in the process of being formed, whether that business is a sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, limited liability company, or some other type of entity. It makes no difference whether the entity is a for-profit or not-for-profit organization, and the size of the entity is also irrelevant. Your “brand” is your public facing identity by which you will be known and through which your reputation will be developed. The goodwill you develop in your “brand” will be one of the most important and valuable assets you own.
The importance of a comprehensive trademark search for a new company name and for a new trademark cannot be overstated. It is vital that companies at all stages stay mindful of the pitfalls in naming any new product or component:
The lesson here is that surnames, unless very rare, are not always the best choice for a new trademark. Businesses are better off pushing vanity aside and creating unique trademarks that can more easily and quickly become strong and enforceable assets.
The explosion of social media and changes in traditional advertising and marketing methods have changed the way products and services are recognized. Promoting non-traditional trademarks such as a color, or other unique source indicators such as sounds, scents, flavor, and product shapes, may provide a fresh method to attract and entice a wider audience.
The Wall Street Journal ran a print article on July 18, 2013 titled “What’s Behind Those Quirky Startup Names?” in which the author Lindsey Gellman discussed the derivation behind unique startup names such as Mibblio, Kaggle, Shodogg, and Zaarly. One of the reasons for these types of names and spellings, she says, is the need for short, recognizable .com web addresses in a space where more mainstream domain names are no longer available.