For the last part of this blog series on “getting started 101,” I wanted to talk about finding and reserving your name. Names are key identifiers to not only us as individuals but also for businesses. This is the most basic form of how companies differentiate themselves from other companies within a market. I will walk you through the steps on how we reserved our name via a trademark so that other businesses can’t use our chosen name.
First off, you have to really get your brain going and find a name that doesn’t just describe what you do but really evokes the emotions and senses that you want to be a part of your brand’s identity. As you all know, our brand’s name in Jeanesis. This is a combination of the word “Jean,” what we intend to sell, and the word, “Genesis,” which is the first book of the Bible. Also, according to dictionary.com, genesis means “an origin, creation or beginning.” We want our consumers to identify our brand as the start of something great and inspire others to follow their passions and dreams along the way whether that is with designing responsibly sourced apparel or something completely different. So, choose your name wisely and maybe bounce ideas off of friends, colleagues and family to see what they first think of when they hear it.
Once you have chosen your name you need to reserve it so that other businesses can’t use the awesome name that you have chosen. For this, you will need to register your name with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. If you are in another country, there will be a similar office that handles intellectual property. You can either register your name (or “mark” as they call it) after you have begun selling your product or service or before using an “intent-to-use” application. We registered our name under the “intent-to-use” application because we have not begun selling yet and this has worked out well. The downside is that applicants need to pay to continuously re-register the application every 6-months until the company begins “using” the mark by selling the goods or services under the brand name. I highly recommend registering under the “intent-to-use” application if what you will be marketing will take some time to develop.
Now, I can write blogs, but I am no expert on filing applications with the U.S. government, so I hired an expert Patent and Trademark Attorney out of an office in San Diego, CA. Our attorney, actually, happens to be a college friend of my brother and he is awesome. If you would like to get in touch with him, please message me or leave a note in the comments section and I can email you his details. He helped us do quick and easy “preliminary” searches in the U.S. PTO’s database to see if our name would be available. Using his guidance, we were able to narrow down a few of our top name choices and we found that Jeanesis would have a good chance of being accepted by the Office. So, our attorney submitted our application and we waited…then waited some more until, finally, we received the go-ahead for our brand name. Overall, the waiting period took about 4 months so I recommend starting the process early. Otherwise, you have to wait before you can start designing logos, slogans, business cards and websites until you have an approved mark.
Overall, it was a fairly straightforward process once we conducted the searches and filed the application. Make sure to really take time in coming up with a great name that helps you stand out. Ultimately, that will be how your consumers identify you. If your name is unique enough, then it should hold up in the registration application process. Thank you all for listening to me rant about trademarks for a bit and I hope that it was useful for you. Have a great week and enjoy the spring!
The name of your brand is powerful. Recently, I was shopping for a Level 2 Wall Charger for our plug-in hybrid vehicle. I was reading reviews of dozens of products and I settled on this plug because 1) it received great reviews by users and 2) because it was made by GE and I had heard of the company before. The GE name, to me, meant that the product was designed and built by people who had much experience producing quality electrical supply products. I am sure that other brands also make great wall chargers but I went with what I knew, since I didn’t have a lot of experience with the product type. Choose your name carefully because it will be the way that most people remember you.
“The nations shall see your righteousness, and all the kings your glory, and you shall be called by a new name that the mouth of the Lord will give” – Isaiah 62:2