Your startup business needs a trademark. Trademarks are names or symbols for specific products or companies and add value to your business. Many startup businesses underestimate the value of a brand. If you have a product or a service, it is best to think up a trade name for it early so that you can build upon your brand. It is not easy to trademark a name, and can be a lengthy process. Better to get your brand nailed down early than to scramble or have to settle for a less creative choice further down the road.
You have to be careful what you name your products. Generic names like “Pretzel Chips” may describe your product perfectly, but this is a name that probably won’t pass muster with the Patent and Trademark Office. This is exactly what happened to one startup company. When they tried to register the brand name “Pretzel Chips” big dog Frito Lay came down on them saying this was too generic and no one should be able to trademark the name. According to The New York Times, the ruling is still pending on this case.
Developing a brand name is a highly specialized marketing discipline. The process for creating a brand name strong enough to propel its unique value into the minds of customers and pass legal muster requires the skill and talent of experts. It’s not a casual exercise. Even when the process has been carefully executed, owners of start-up brands can run into unforeseen legal trouble from larger competitors who may use trademark law as a means of eliminating competitive threats to their business.
So how do you a startup business compete with the big companies when it comes to a brand name and trademark? You have to get just the right name that sparks interest in the consumer without being too different. Creativity is key but so is common sense. Another point to consider is the legal aspect. When you are coming up with a brand name be sure to do a thorough search to make certain that name is not already taken.
For example a woman worked for many years developing a line of organic skin care products, had the name and labels all picked out for her products, and at the last minute found out a big Japanese company was launching products by the same name. She then had to spend another year thinking up a brand name she could legally use.
Branding and trademarks are essential no matter how large or small your business is. Get creative, check the legal issues, and get your brand out there for consumer to see. Use your brand and trademark consistently in all ads, marketing, and correspondence. This will help build your brand, and get your name recognized.