5+1 Tips on Naming Your Company
Let’s say you have a brilliant idea to start a business. That’s great. However, that means you have to give your future company a name. When choosing a name, you should take several things into account. One of those things is the ability to trademark it. Let’s look at a few tips on how to proceed when choosing a name for your company.
Before You Start
It doesn’t matter whether you come up with the name yourself or if you have an agency do it. You should keep in mind that the name of your company or product/service will represent your company for the entirety of its existence. Consumers often choose their prospective suppliers based on the impression their brand gives them. That is why the name you choose should be easy to remember and easy to write just based on hearing it. If you plan on expanding your business abroad, it should also be easy to remember and pronounce for foreigners. It is also useful to have the following tips in mind.
Tip 1: Trademark Registration
Remember that if you are truly serious about your business, you should consider registering a trademark - and not only as far as your company’s name is concerned. Your product/service name or slogan needs just as much protection, and don’t forget you can also protect your logo, product shape, and packaging. Find out exactly what you can have trademarked in our article What Is a Trademark?.
Tip 2: Common Name
You will hear people say that you shouldn't give your company a common name. But what does a common name mean? It can be any common word, such as log. Yes, your company can really be named Log. The question is: is that a good name for a company? Well, yes and no. It depends on the context.
Let's say you own a company that processes wood, so you pick the name Log. It will definitely have a certain impact on your marketing. In this case, you can expect the impact to be negative as you'll subject yourself to loads of competition as far as consumer searches are concerned. As far as trademarks go, it's not a great name as the Intellectual Property Office won't let you register it as a trademark. What's important is that the name has to be specific and differentiated from the competition. That doesn't work when every wood processing company works with logs.
However, if you conduct business in a completely different field (if, for example, you run a bearing manufacturing and sales company), your application might be successful. That is because there are several different classes of trademarks that correspond to the Nice Classification, i.e. classification according to the field the trademark represents. Let’s look at a real-life example. California’s Apple is a registered trademark even though “apple” is a common word. The important thing here is that Apple doesn’t specialise in selling apples but in selling smartphones, computers and other electronic devices.
Tip 3: Name of the Founder
Companies are often given the name of their founder. The thing is, not every name will make a good company name. If you have a really common name, it won't make for an original company name and could make your company harder to remember. It's also usually necessary to follow the name up with the name of the field of business, so that it's clear what the company does. Such company names are usually used in the field of skilled trade or with law firms as these types of businesses tend to be set up by an individual or two partners. As far as trademarking these types of names goes, you might run into trouble here – you would have to pick a really specific name that would be approved in the registration process.
Tip 4: Compound Name
This is a common solution when a company has two or more founders as each founder might want to be a part of the company's name. A good, easy-to-remember name might be made up using a combination of the first syllables of the founders' names, provided the founders' names have the right syllables to work with. This then makes for a de facto neologism, which we get into in more detail below.
Tip 5: Neologism
Perhaps the best way to name a company is to come up with a new word (a neologism). Only that way can you be completely certain your name is truly original. Here's a great example of a neologism that became a world-renowned brand: the most widely-known search engine, Google. You can look for inspiration beyond the English vocabulary, for example in Latin. The important thing is that with a neologism, you can be sure that you'll be able to register it as a domain and that you'll most likely be successful in registering it as a trademark.
Tip 6: Don't Forget the Domain
Whatever name you decide to go with, you should register a domain to go with it – preferably using the same name. Why? Because most businesses have an online presence by now. Finding out your prospective domain is already taken after you've registered your brand is less than ideal. Sure, you might have the opportunity to buy the domain from its owner, but how much are they going to make you pay for it?
Trademark – When Can I Register It?
If you decide to protect your brand, you shouldn't wait to do it. If you do, you might easily become the victim of trademark abuse. The best solution is to register it before you launch it and take it to the market. Only then can you be sure that a potential dispute with anyone who might try to profit off your brand or harm it another way will result in you coming out on top. That is why you should do research after coming up with the name of your brand: to make sure it hasn't been registered by anyone else yet. If it has, you should think of a new name.
Don't know how to register a trademark? We'll lead you through the whole process online. Just fill out this trademark registration form.