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How to Select a Great Trademark

We are often asked for suggestions on how to select a great trademark by our startup customers.  The response is always the same, “It depends on what you want out of your trademark.”

by The Trademark Company

updated 06/23/2022 | 4 Min Read 

There are generally two schools of thought in selecting a great trademark. On one hand do you want to use a completely coined name? Something that no one has ever heard of like Google or eBay. On the other, do you want a trademark that creates instant interest in the product or service because it tells your prospective customers what you provide and what they’ll get (e.g., FROSTED MINI WHEATS for breakfast cereals, VISION CENTER for retail store services featuring eyewear).

Both schools of thought have their benefits. Both have their detriments. Let’s take a further look.

Coined Trademarks

Coined trademarks, those that are completely made up, are the strongest form of trademarks and, in theory, the easiest to protect (e.g., Google, eBay, Hulu, etc.). But beware, although easier to protect, such trademarks do not tell the consumer what you do or what goods or services you provide. As such, if you intend to coin your own trademark be ready to spend more to promote your trademark as there will not be instant recognition by consumers of what you do or the goods or services that you provide.

Descriptive Trademarks

Descriptive trademarks, on the other hand, provide the owner with instant recognition for what their brand does (e.g., NEW YORK PIZZERIA). However, this comes at a cost. Descriptive trademarks are difficult to enforce and, as a result, may not provide the owner with the ability to exclude others from using the same or similar trademarks (e.g., the owner of NEW YORK PIZZERIA can’t stop someone else from using NEW YORK CITY PIZZERIA).

As such, if you are looking to adopt a trademark that instantly drums up interest in your goods or services it will cost less to brand. However, the rights you acquire in such a trademark will be harder to enforce should someone adopt a similar trademark to yours.

So in the end how do you select a great trademark? It depends. What are you looking for?

Make Sure Your Trademark is Protected!