A Huge Trademark Mistake
One of the unique features of my NameFlash name development process is how I do a trademark screen for the names I am planning to recommend. I do this trademark search because I want to present names that are available from a trademark standpoint. I also check domain name availability and common law use, because you do not have to register a trademark to own a trademark if you establish use.
When presenting names, I show clients the names I have cleared and recommend. I also show the names I thought were good but had trademark, domain name or common law usage issues. While I do not recommend those “names with issues,” I feel it is important for clients to understand where there are competitive concerns.
Occasionally I run into a client who insists on pursuing a name that has trademark issues. Sometimes that makes sense–after all, I’m not a trademark attorney, and if you have a great trademark attorney who can see a way to get a trademark then go for it! However, sometimes a quick read of the trademark conflicts will make it clear that you should not pursue the name.
What happens if you ignore even the simplest trademark advice? Well consider this case. A bank thought that owning a domain name was a strong rationale for granting a trademark…and unfortunately the US Patent & Trademark Office disagreed. The end result will end up costing the offending bank $1 million. Ouch!
The moral of the story? Get great advice in developing names and listen to the experts. Not only will you end up with a great name, but you will be able to own that name without concern over receiving the dreaded “cease and desist” letter from a competitive trademark holder!