It’s all in a name…make sure your business is safe from its start up

Naming a company, product, or new application that you developed is an exciting time. In the excitement, it is important to remember to check on the availability of the proposed name before you invest money into the development and marketing. One of the biggest mistakes made is not undertaking a complete check. Often people simply “google” the proposed name or, for those with a little more expertise, check with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to see if the name is taken. Typically, this check involves searching the proposed name itself. However, when dealing with trademarks and trade names, you need to check not only the exact name, but names that are similar in sound, appearance or impression. Thus, if your proposed name is “Krazy Kats”, you need to search terms like “Crazy Cats” and “Quazy Cats”. Depending on the product, you may also need to search terms like “Insane Feline”.

 Further, for purposes of the USPTO, you also need to check the name in other languages. For example, if your proposed name was “Krazy Kats, you could be denied registration of that trademark if there is an existing trademark for “Loco Cato”. Performing a “translation search” is actually simple to do on the USPTO website by simply searching your name (and variations thereof) followed by “[ti]” which automatically searches the names in all languages.

Before investing time and money marketing your new item, make sure to spend the time and money to fully check on the availability of the name. Failing to do so can result not only in a denial of name registration, (assuming you are trying to register the name), but a cease and desist letter or possible infringement claim, from a competitor.  If you have any business start up questions, please contact Jerry McDonald at 937-223-1130 or gmcdonald@pselaw.com.

AUTHOR: Gerald McDonald
gmcdonald@pselaw.cpom