As I said, this would be a multi part series. Why? Because there is so much to cover. There is a lot of detail to the subject and even in this multi post series could not possibly cover all of it. That’s why there are lawyers who devote their entire lives to the subject. If you are really doing this yourself I highly recommend getting a trademark attorney at least to help you. Some of the best money you can spend.
If you’re like me though, and you like to do everything yourself. It is possible even though it can be very frustrating.
Here we go:
What's in a name?
In another post, I wrote about the fact that the USPTO doesn’t like three things in a federal trademark application: Proper Names, Geographic Location and generic words in the industry and category the trademark is being applied.
In my rather long post, I did not talk about the exceptions very much. So let’s jump in to some reason why you may ignore the USPTO and apply for your rule breaking name.
The first exception is, if you intend to stay local, and you are the first with the name in your area, and you can use your geographic wordmark without legally offending someone else's, then it doesn't matter at all. Register your business name with the state you live in and you are done. Otherwise, start over using the concept outlined in the last half of this post.
The proper name exception is similar, you need a pretty unique name first of all, and then you have to be first to register a business in the category you are in. Once it's gone, it's gone. Imagine trying to open a national chain of anything called "Smith's." The trademarks are gone. They don't exist. Except for few brief seconds where a new category opens up.
As for generic words, there aren't really any good times for that. Black Rubber Tire Company is not a brand, it's just what the thing is, no more, no less. Talon Tires, however speaks to the idea of grip, grab, bite and if you have great tires for sale well then, we have a winner.
This is why the words, “green, leaf, canna Mari, Mary, kind, dope, weed, etc,” just have to go from the cannabis industry. Go ahead and google things like “nature’s solution” or “greenleaf dispensary” and see how many results you get.
On the other hand, google “Hippie House Cannabis” or “Sculpture Dispensary” and see how many results you get. Biiiig difference. The last two, I made up on the spot, and I knew they were original before googling to make sure.
The point is, use abstract concepts instead of generic, industry specific concepts and associations! Do you happen to love playing baseball and as you get older you find that cannabis help you continue to enjoy playing even when it hurts a little? Then it would make sense to go for a name like Home Run Cannabis Co. Go ahead and google it. It doesn’t exist yet. Why? Because the relationship is so personal and unique that no one else would think of it.
Ok, I just gave away three solid names for free, Go ahead and take them, or better, take the knowledge and start creating names that mean a lot to you and translate how you feel, and then you will be onto something. Remember also, this is only ONE way to approach naming. A simple google search for "how to name my business" and you will find many many many posts by many companies and people outlining other aspects. You would be wise to do such a search for a couple hours and learn from others as well.
In the next post, I will add the next layer which will really reveal whether your name is worth chasing after to begin with. How to search for your url and how it impacts your trademark.
Happy Brand Building!
December 19, 2019