I blogged previously about the common mistake that I see – people giving their products or services super-descriptive names. It’s a big no-no in trademark world. You can’t register a federal trademark for a name that’s merely descriptive. If you do get it through the system, it’s only after five years, if you’ve successfully proven that your use of the mark has given it a secondary meaning. In other words, you’ve garnered such fame with the descriptive name that people now immediately associate it with your service or product.
Have you ever wondered why the biggest brands, always seem to have the most random names (and trademarks)? This is very intentional and strategic as hell.
But first, let’s take a glimpse at some of the most famous trademarks:
Can you guess the one thing that these brands have in common?
In trademark world, there are two very strong categories of names. The absolute strongest is a name that’s fanciful – one that’s completely made up. The next category is a name that’s arbitrary – used out of context. These names tend to be more valuable because they are the most distinctive, and the most difficult to successfully challenge (yes, people can challenge and even try to get your trademark cancelled once it’s registered).
That’s the big secret peeps. The biggest brands that you’re paying attention to and spending money with have names that are arbitrary or fanciful.
And, before you grumble. YES, it’s difficult to come up with an arbitrary or fanciful name. Truthfully, these businesses tend to have teams (legal and copywriting) involved with naming. But, I wanted to lift the veil so you can understand why they do what they do.
It doesn’t mean that you can’t have a trademark for other names (for example, my brand name and trademark would be considered “suggestive”). A suggestive trademark is the most common type of trademark because it more plainly identifies the product or service. It tends to be a favorite of some copywriting pros. The con of suggestive trademarks is that they often cross the line into being descriptive, so you have to be careful.
I wanted to give you more insight on this naming issue so you can begin to spot red flags in your own brand. But, I go more in depth in my freebie masterclass on Protecting Your Brand in Cyberspace. If you want to learn more on this topic, you should join me.