You have a new product or a new business idea and are looking for the right brand name? Then you are faced with both a creative and a legal challenge.
The success of a product or a business idea is closely linked to the brand that serves as a label. Different products or services need different brand messages. For example, the name for a new medicine is different from the name for a new type of olive oil and the name for the new type of olive oil is different from the brand of a tour operator.
A branding strategy therefore involves several steps:
Who are your customers?
First of all, you should make sure that you have the right clientele for your offer. Are they more or less technically trained customers or end customers without prior knowledge?
Emotions and associations
Furthermore, you should determine whether your new brand should convey certain emotionalities or contents. These can be certain syllables, for example reminiscent of the French language or based on ingredients. Possible negative meanings in other languages must also be taken into account in order to avoid embarrassing ambiguities.
Avoid descriptive terms
It is important that the brand should not be purely descriptive of the content characteristics or geographical origin of the new product. Already now in the creative development process you should think about what can be registered as a brand later, because this should be the goal of the brand creation. Purely descriptive information for the product or service cannot be registered as a trademark. Such terms must remain freely usable for anyone offering such goods or services (e.g. apple for fruit, Apple for computers).
You can commission a marketing agency to find a trademark, which will certainly charge you a substantial five-figure fee for a few, very few suggestions. Alternatively, you can try this yourself. Take your time, meticulously write down syllables, word components and other ideas, so that a list can develop from them. Play with combinations of them. Once you have created a list of 30 to 50 ideas, we move on to the next phase, checking whether the character can be used.
Before you use a trademark, you must check whether this or a similar trademark has already been applied for or registered for the same or similar goods or services. If this were the case, the use of the new trademark would constitute a trademark infringement due to the likelihood of confusion and, if the owner of the earlier trademark notices this, you would be threatened with injunctive relief and claims for damages. Far worse, however, would be that your previous efforts, certainly also for marketing, would be in vain.
In trademark searches we distinguish between searches for (partially) identical signs or similar signs. Everything that matches in certain letters, sounds similar or means the same thing conceptually can be similar. Since similarity searches provide far more hits, they are more expensive.
First you should start with an identity search in order to save costs. You can already check your list yourself with a Google search or with TM-View, a free search portal of the EU. We also offer identity searches for a small lump sum for very extensive lists. As a general rule, you should not pursue any ideas for which you already find registered trademarks. Such older trademarks entail a latent cost risk, which you should eliminate at an early stage in the trademark search process.
After the identity search it quickly becomes clear that many trademark ideas cannot be implemented because of older trademarks.
Professional trademark search
The proposals that have come into the final selection can then ultimately be checked for their usability by means of a professional trademark similarity search. We have tools which enable us to search for phonetically similar trademarks which als could cause a likelihood of confusion and thus a trademark conflict.
It is necessary to protect your valuable trademark so that no third party can use it without authorization. For this purpose there is the possibility of national trademark applications in the respective countries. For some areas, such as the EU, there are uniform procedures which grant protection for several countries (Union trademark, application via WIPO for several countries, OAPI or ARIPO for various states in Africa). If the trademark needs to be protected in more than one country in can be complex to decide, which route offers the best options. Hence, it is adviseable to develop a trademark filing strategy with our lawyers. If this is completed the application(s) can be filed and hopefully you will get no oppositions.