What makes a good trademark?

There is no hard and fast answer to the question “what makes a good trademark?” A good trademark should be distinctive, memorable, and make sense. It should leave a lasting impression with customers and avoid confusion with other products or services.

A quick Google search for [YOUR BRAND NAME] and [TYPE OF PRODUCT] can usually tell you whether there are other recognized businesses in the same – or a similar – industry using the same – or a similar – name. If there are, you may run the risk of confusion in the market. Likewise, a quick search of the USPTO database can tell you whether or not there is an existing, expired, or pending registration for your exact mark. However, a full trademark search (like the ones we offer) can help clarify how many and how great the obstacles you face may be.

Another thing to consider is protectability. What marks run the risk of garnering a registration refusal from the USPTO? Is your mark merely descriptive (like MAPLE BACON STRONG ALE), geographically descriptive (SPOKANE CHILDCARE CENTER), or misdescriptive (LITTLE ROCK CHIMNEY REPAIR in Boise, Idaho)? In some cases, marks that fall into these categories have options for registration, but fully protected registration is unlikely, at least for the first five years of use.

This 2018 article on selecting beer names that can turn into strong trademarks is still extremely relevant, if not more so, and might help grease the gears for generating some enduring trademark ideas of your own: https://brewingindustryguide.com/the-fraught-process-of-naming-beers/

Ultimately, a good trademark should be something you like and are proud to market, but if you are wed to a mark that does not stand a good chance of succeeding in the registration process (it’s already taken, it’s merely descriptive, etc.), you’ll want to consider the risks of continuing to use it without a registration as well as possible options for increasing your chances of success (developing a design that incorporates your name with distinctive visual elements, adding unique words, etc.) before submitting an application.

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