Scenario: you’ve brainstormed with a core group of confidants and come up with a descriptive, compelling, splashy name for your company, brand, or product. You run it through the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s quick search online and guess what? It’s available! You’re golden. Company naming is easy, right?
Unfortunately, even if you’re lucky enough to get this far with your favorite name, it doesn’t mean you’re in the clear. If you search the USPTO’s database, you may only find exact matches, but the basis for trademark infringement is “likelihood of confusion.” That means there could be alternate spellings or merely similar-sounding names that could disqualify your claim. If you press on without knowing these potential conflicts, you risk wasting money and time.
The truth is that the names that kindle the most initial enthusiasm are often the ones with treacherous trademark issues lurking behind them. The reason? If there’s an incredible but somewhat obvious name choice, it’s likely someone has already snapped it up. Our clients often love the names with the highest risk because those are the most popular.
How Our Extensive Trademark Screening Works
Thankfully, we don’t do a glitchy quick search and call it a day. We have a dedicated team of researchers who use the same services that trademark attorneys use. In addition to federal trademark checks, we also perform state checks, common law usage, and web screenings. We also have the ability to search global trademarks in a number of countries if necessary.
This is the kind of nitty-gritty stuff that we deal with every day because we understand that the screening process needs to focus on more than availability. There are nuances and subtleties to trademark law and common usage law that only experience can prepare you to catch. And we do our trademark screening as part of our standard business naming services — which means you incur no extra fees to attain that desired peace of mind.
Domain Name Screening
When it comes to a brand company name, legal availability is not the only hurdle to clear. Domain availability is paramount. Even if you don’t plan on using the domain, it’s better to own the dot com than to have someone else using it or even squatting on it. If someone in your industry space is already using it, that could lead to some serious confusion for your target audience. In addition, simply owning the domain can help boost your search engine results. We can also search the availability of social media handles, app names, and Certificate of Label Approvals (COLA).
A name may be a great idea for primarily English-speaking American customers, but that doesn’t mean that it’s going to work for every demographic. If you plan to launch globally, we can conduct a search for offensive meanings in other languages and cultures. This is so much deeper than a quick online translation, which, again, only covers exact spelling. It won’t tell you if something sounds the same, or similar to, an offensive word or phrase. If relevant, we consult native linguists who will make sure the name is at least contextually neutral.
Why You Should Let Us Solve Your Company Naming Conundrum
Our decades of experience have sharpened our skills and made us pretty savvy name screeners. But we don’t rely too heavily on past experience — we stay abreast of the shifting trends so that your name is relevant in today’s rapidly changing culture. You can feel fully confident that the names we pitch to you have cleared all of our preliminary screenings — reducing the chances that your legal will reject the name because it’s too high risk for your company, brand, product, or service.
To top it off, we work for a flat fee, which means we repeat the screening process as many times as it takes to earn your satisfaction. That’s why we’re here!