Benjamin Appelbaum, Attorney at Law

Trademark options may be limited

New Jersey residents and others who are starting a business may find that many of their preferred names are already trademarked. Of the 100,000 most commonly used words, 75 percent of them are trademarked. Even if a particular name is available, it may not be wise to use it. For instance, those who use their last name as part of their business name might lose rights to that name if the company is sold.

One of the challenges of creating a trademark is attempting to be unique while also being recognizable. In many cases, brands that are thought to be playing off of established company names may not establish a strong identity. Brands are also encouraged to keep the names of their companies short and easy to pronounce. Google is an example of a company that has a unique name and is less than seven letters.

If a new business owner doesn't want to use a surname or a word that already exists, it may be possible to make up a word, such as by combining two words that already exist. The word "hangry" is a popular neologism that combines the words hungry and angry. As a general rule, business owners want their brands to conjure positive emotions as opposed to negative or neutral ones.

Those who are looking to preserve their rights related to a logo, brand name or other intellectual property may be interested in applying for a trademark. Doing so might provide a company with exclusive rights to use a word or phrase for commercial purposes. An attorney may be helpful in conducting a search of existing trademarks. This may reduce the odds that an individual infringes on the rights of another trademark holder, which could result in financial penalties.

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Benjamin Appelbaum, Attorney at Law - Intellectual Property

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