There are many known cases when the wrong name caused irreparable damage to the business. We are not talking about comic stories and inappropriate titles. The conversation will focus on the legal aspect of the case, which business owners often forget about.
Coming up with an ingenious name is half the battle. You still need to register it. And this is where the fun begins. It all depends on when the entrepreneur realized this. It is rare and wonderful when he thought about it in advance, even before choosing a name.
More often than not, the owners come up with a name, launch a business, advertising, even for some time this whole structure works successfully and brings in money, and then, one fine day, the copyright holder of the name comes, and your whole business goes to hell. This cautionary article made by our tech branding agency specialists is dedicated to those entrepreneurs who are now preoccupied with naming. The material will also be illustrated with stories from the legal practice of Eugene Berlin, head of the Berlin & Partners law firm.
Strategy First, Then Creativity
Before you start developing a brand name, you need to work out the strategic part. Its meaning is in defining boundaries and defining directions. It is worthwhile to research the competitive environment and form a document with brand characteristics. Understanding your target audience, product features, and possible registration classes will give you a foothold. All this translates into a tone of voice: elegant, confidential, humorous or businesslike.
Next, it is worth deciding on the length of the name and the style (Cyrillic, Latin). Everyone wants to come up with such an ideal name, so that it is both short and easy to write in both Cyrillic and Latin, and also always original and creative.
Meanwhile, short names do not give the desired emotional color and are not very well remembered if they do not have associations. One of the recent trends – names in the form of phrases, exclamations or transformed speech turns, for example: “Dad can!” (“Ostankino meat-packing plant”) or “Hungry – evil” (new restaurant of Vladimir Perelman). It is very important to understand how the title will be used and to narrow down the search field as much as possible.
If you do not set these criteria at the first stage, then the search for a name is an eternal process of pointing your finger at the sky.
There are a huge number of methods for generating brand names: allusion, analogy, borrowing from foreign languages, metonymy, transfer, connection. There is a place to read about this, so we will not dwell on this in detail.
An Instructive Story
You need to understand that developing the correct name is half the battle. Try to register it (or rather, be sure to do it), because any creative that is associated with the creation of a brand name can completely break about the registration rules for this name.
A typical case is when, before submitting an application, only registrations are checked, and an in-depth check on applications is not done. As a result, all the work, all the creativity, the time spent on its creation will go to waste. Remember – registration of the name is required if you do not want to face business problems when the copyright holder of the name appears one day at the doorstep of your office.
A very instructive story took place in the city of Tambov on the souvenir market. Everyone knows and uses the “Tambov Wolf” marking on souvenirs. This is the visiting card of the city. One enterprising friend first bought the long-registered name “Tambov Wolf”, and then registered it in the souvenir trade class, after which he sent “letters of happiness” to all Tambov entrepreneurs working with souvenirs, with the notification that now they are all must either pay him to use this trademark, or cover their shops.
The case was saved only by publicity and the intervention of the regional governor. De jure, the owner of the Tambov Wolf label had absolutely the right to behave in this way. The moral of this fable is to register what you are going to do right away so that there will be no problems later, because whoever got up first got his slippers.
If the previous story is rather an exception, then with the telecommunications brand As Seen On TV everything happened as it should by law. The client has taken over the market by registering the name before its competitors. The designation As seen on TV is widespread in America: this sign is used to mark teleshopping services. We have this “Store on the couch” and the like. Now the client has the full right to prohibit all other market players from using this sign.
Thanks for reading! If you want to learn even more, read this article.