Trademarks – 8 minute read
It’s one of the most important decisions you make in your business: What will I call it? How will the world identify my brand? WHO AM I? (cue the drama…)
In all seriousness… Your trademark is how your audience & prospective clients will identify you. In today’s world of online business, with all the noise & competition out there, your trademark is more important than ever.
Interested clients will search you by your business name. They will recommend your program to others using your program name. Your livelihood literally depends on the ability of others to find & identify you easily.
Not to mention, the value of your online business does not lie in the value of your current inventory, or a brick & mortar. It isn’t assessed by the value of your equipment or office furniture (#nothanks). It’s determined by the value of your intellectual property assets. And the most important IP asset you own is your trademark.
This means that it’s that much more important to make sure your trademark is a strong, distinct one, not one that is weak or generic, meaning everybody else in your industry is using the same or similar name.
And if everyone else is using it (or needs to use it to describe their own services) you probably won’t be able to secure the exclusive trademark rights to it.
Read on to learn how to develop a strong, valuable trademark for your business, brand, program, podcast, and more.
Don’t Be #Basic
Don’t use generic or descriptive words to describe your program. For example, if you were to open a restaurant, you would want to avoid calling it, “Diner” or “The Sandwich Shop.” If you’re launching a coaching program, you wouldn’t want to call it “The Online Business Coaching Program” or “The Online Business Accelerator.” (Plus, how boring would that be, am I right? *yawn*)
Same goes for a course, membership community, or podcast.
The USPTO (U.S. Patent & Trademark Office) will refuse registration to generic/descriptive marks because other businesses selling similar goods/services need to be able to use those terms to describe their own products/services.
On top of that, what good does it do you if a gazillion other businesses show up in the search when someone interested in hiring (or purchasing from) *you* searches your generic & descriptive business or program name & cannot find you?
No good. It does you absolutely no good girlfriend. Seriously.
Creative & Suggestive Trademarks
One step up from descriptiveness is a suggestive trademark. A suggestive mark is one that does not expressly suggest the nature of the goods/services; instead, it does so in an indirect way. Some examples of this include:
- Peaceful Parenting for a group coaching program for parents looking to eliminate anger and tension from their parenting style
- The #SociallyAcceptable Podcast for a podcast focused on social media marketing
- Perfect Match Mastermind for a relationship coaching program
- Macho Mindfulness for a mindset coaching program for masculine individuals
- Beach Bums United for a business coaching program that is designed for individuals of the #workfromanywhere AKA #digitalnomad lifestyle
This is the sweet spot you want to aim for when naming your program, course, or podcast!
The next level of trademark strength is an arbitrary mark. Arbitrary trademarks include words that exist in the English language but have nothing to do with the goods/services being sold in connection with the mark. Here are some examples:
- Queen Bee Mastermind for a business coaching program
- The Rainbow Rooster for a health & wellness coaching program
- The PAUSE Method for your signature methodology or framework
Some other examples outside of the coaching industry…
- Bumble for a dating app
- Infiniti for vehicles
- Apple for electronics
Finally, we have arrived at the strongest type of trademark: fanciful marks. A fanciful mark is a made up word that bears no meaning & is used in a trademark manner to identify the source of goods/services. Some examples include:
- Hulu for streaming services
- Kodak for photography equipment
- Exxon for gasoline
There you go! It goes without saying that you want to avoid using a generic or descriptive trademark in developing your brand name, program name, or podcast name. If you choose to go the generic route, you risk not being able to secure the exclusive rights to the use of your trademark (*not* a great strategy) & getting lost in all of the noise out there on the world wide web because your brand looks & sounds the same as everybody else’s.
Your goal as a business owner should be to STAND OUT from the crowd! Make it easy for your people to find you & to purchase your products or services. Spend a reasonable amount of time developing a trademark that identifies you & your brand in a way that is easy to identify & won’t be confused with your competitors. Your business will thank you! And when your business thanks you, it’s typically in the form of loooots of happy clients & of course, revenue! *wink*
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*The information presented in this blog post is for educational & informational purposes only. This should not be a substitute for customized legal advice from a licensed professional in a private setting. If you need legal advice, please consult with an attorney. This is not a law firm.