Jim Croce, the great singer/songwriter of the 1970s wrote a song called “I’ve Got a Name.”  The meaning of the song basically states that the most important thing you have in life is a good name, and you wear it proudly.  The same holds true for your product and company name.  The point is, people want to do business with a company that has a name associated with good things.  Your name should be associated with quality, and integrity. 

The first, and most important thing you can do for your company is to protect the name and logo of your company and product by registering them for a copyright and trademark.  You would be surprised how many companies don’t take that step, or they don’t go deep enough in their research before they launch their name.  If you find out that you are in violation of a copyright and/or trademark infringement, it can cost you a lot of money.  Through lawsuits, scraping of packaging and marketing materials, and time, you can find yourself paying out thousands of dollars.

The process to establish your brand name, product names, and logos, you should hire an Intellectual Property Rights attorney.  It generally costs about $2,000 to do. They are familiar with the search process, and will do a more thorough job than you can, most likely. 

There are DIY online legal services that you can do yourself to register your name and trademarkengine.com, legalzoom.com, and others.  The cost for this is fairly low.   But, they may not turn over as much information as an experienced attorney in this field. 

There is so much you need to know about establishing your name. Things like:

  • Is there any product that is in the same product category as yours, with the same or closely similar name?
  • What sort of materials have you already used to establish your name?
  • If the name was used previously, and no longer protected, was the history of that name?   It would be tragic if you chose a name, and later found out it was abandoned because of negative publicity associated with that name. 
  • Are there products using the same name, outside of the product category you occupy?  You can use the same name as someone else, as long as it is not in the category the Copyright office places your product in.  But, is it a name you want to be associated with.  Imagine using the name “Tidy Bowl” for a dinner dish that cleans itself, only to find that the name “Tidy Bowl” is used for a toilet bowl cleaner.  Do you really want to associate your “forever clean” dinner bowl with a dirty toilet bowl?

The other reason you want to do this correctly, is to protect your company from being infringed upon by another company later down the road.  Whether you choose to hire an attorney, or do-it-yourself, make sure you go through the process completely. 

Perry Goldstein
Perry Goldstein

Perry Goldstein is an electronics industry veteran, with over 40 years of experience in manufacturer sales and marketing in both the consumer electronics and Pro A/V spaces. He has managed sales in both B2B and B2C markets.