How important is a name?
I have mixed feelings about this topic after finally securing the Trademark Popina for my swimwear brand. Initially when I informally started my business, I chose a name that seemed unique enough……I knew I needed to secure a trademark at some point, but felt that I had some time and would get to it once I became more serious about my business. That time came two years later after purchasing my brick and mortar retail store signage and website url. The result of not first choosing a solid business name caused unnecessary legal fees, frustration and redoing work to establish our name in both the brick and mortar world and on the internet.
STEP #1 in starting a business if you are manufacturing a product is to make sure the name you are using is available. This is a very easy thing to do and potentially fun. The USPTO (U.S. Patent and Trademark Office) has a database of all registered and pending trademarks (See Trademarks => 3 Search TM database (TESS) => New User Form Search (Basic)).
It is wild to consider that there are only so many names out there that actually sound like something. As life goes on it will be harder and harder to secure a name that is not just a set of random consonants and vowels as many of the best names have already been taken! As you search the TESS database keep in mind that just because you see a name that you are interested in that appears to have been taken it does not mean that the name is unavailable. Trademarks have different classes of goods, for apparel the class 025 - do a search for Popina on Tess and you will see our Trademark Serial # 77048989. One example, if you were interested in using the name “snowden” for your company (search on the USPTO as of today you will see there are multiple current uses). Although “snowden” is being used, it is not being used by class 025 so it would potentially be free to use for apparel. Trademarks are established by use, just becuase the Trademark has not been registered on the TESS database a further step is needed with legal assistance to do a comprehensive search for me that search cost about $500. All in all from start to finish if you choose a name that appears free on TESS without any hiccups on your comprehensive search you can anticipate this process to cost as little as $1,000.
In retrospect a name is very important to a business, I really liked my initial name enough to ignore the legal opinions of three different lawyers to try to keep a name that I was emotionally tied to which is very easy to happen. The result was costly, frustrating and took energy away from other aspects of my business. This is all the more reason to check TESS before you start using a name! In reality a name does not have virtually any meaning until you give it meaning by establishing a quality brand. So have fun, work to find a name you can live with, hopefully that you like, and go out and make it mean something!