I often get asked why I called my intellectual property services business KOMO®. Well, you can thank my hero, Sir David Attenborough. No, the legend didn’t name my business, per se.
Good practice in naming your business, particularly if you wish to secure a trade mark registration, a valuable asset that enables you to stop others from using the same or a very similar name, is that your chosen name not be descriptive of the goods and/or services you offer.
As such, ‘Trade Mark Advisors’, ‘Intellectual Property Services’, ‘IP Strategies’ were all definitely out. Not to mention that choosing any of these would have been an SEO nightmare. A nice chunk of every dollar spent on advertising and promotion, buying Google Adwords and so forth, would have simply helped my competitors.
It is also important to avoid using:
- common family names (‘Beverley IP’ was out)
- terms other traders need to use (no to ‘Trade Mark Searching and Registration Specialists’)
- geographical terms (bye bye to ‘North Shore IP’ or ‘Trade Marks Australia’)
- protected names (I won’t be selling cookies door-to-door as ‘Girl Guides IP‘ anytime soon)
- terms relating to quality (‘Best Ever IP Services’, no thanks…)
- famous names and well known trade marks, so nope to ‘Elvis IP’ or ‘Virgin Trade Marks’ (even though Virgin® is probably not going to open such a business any time soon, it’s just not worth the potential hassle, and we can be far more creative anyway).
The above is not an exhaustive list – I haven’t yet mentioned trade marks that might be deemed offensive… ‘Skinny B**ch IP’, anyone?
If that’s the list of what not to do, what should you do to create trade marks that are more registerable? Focus on creating names that are short, punchy and memorable. Think: eBay®, Google®, Uber®, Apple®, Facebook®.
Yes, they are all famous brands now, in fact their combined worth is potentially in the hundreds of billions, but they all started off as humble little trade marks no one knew. And because of this, they also employed slogans to help us to get to know them, like “Online Auctions”, which is a much better use of generic words than using them to name your business.
So where did KOMO® come from? I was watching one of David Attenborough’s fantastic programs and this episode was about – wait for it – Komodo, an Indonesian island and the home of Komodo Dragons.
And bam! I said to myself: Komodo… komo, komo… KOMO! Yes!
Still, I didn’t just hang up a shingle with KOMO all over it and open my doors to business because while the domain names I wanted were available, my next task was to make sure no one had already jumped in with a trade mark application, or had already been granted a trade mark registration. That would’ve been a deal breaker for me.
Notice I didn’t first secure a business name registration or set up a company called KOMO, which is the opposite to what most business people do.
Why? Because it’s is essential to understand that a business and company name are not an automatic right to trade with your chosen name. Furthermore, if another party already owns the registered trade marks, you could be infringing their rights.
Thankfully, my searches showed the name was available in the key classes I needed (there are 45 goods and service classes) to powerfully protect my new brand. Once I had that clear report, I immediately made trade mark filings and as anticipated, thanks to my earlier searches, KOMO was granted ‘accepted’ status. Eventually it moved on to registered status, which is why I can now use the ® symbol to assert my rights in this name. There are penalties for using this symbol on non-registered trade marks, so prior to registration I used the TM symbol.
If you have a business, product or service name you wish to protect, I’d love an opportunity to quote on making trade mark applications on your behalf, including conducting searches and advising about registerability.
To request a quote, click here.
And no, you won’t see the great man himself walking about my articles, videos, online IP training courses, and other helpful materials, but I like to think Sir David Attenborough would approve…
Photo credit: Library of Congress Flickr account, Vermont Circus, 1941 by Jack Delano. No known copyright restrictions.