When you’re thinking about how to brand your product or service, you will also need to consider if the name and logo are already trademarked. Are you stepping on anyone’s toes? If you are, you’ll probably know about it promptly. And that’s why it’s a good idea to conduct a trademark search before getting too attached or too committed to any one idea. If you find a name that you like and it’s already being used somewhere else, you may still be able to use it if the two industries are very different. You may not. When we first set out, we filed for the name Monster guitar picks, but Monster Cables was notified and opposed our use. Every trademark is different, and you have to be aware of that. We originally tried to design the clamshell packaging that the guitar picks were sold in to look like coffins. But Coffin Case guitars were trademarked in such a way that the entire industry was covered. We eventually found a name that worked. It might take you a while.
Don’t be afraid to change or edit your brand when you’re developing your business! If some research or data or experience leads you to believe that your brand would be better marketed in a different way, go for it. We first chose the name ‘HotPicks’ because we thought the picks were going to feature women’s curves. After testing the market, we realized that kids were mostly buying picks, and that their mother’s didn’t appreciate our graphics. We changed speeds. And that’s why it’s a good idea to move slowly on physical or digital purchases that have your brand and logo. Are you sure that’s what it’s going to be? Be sure before you invest in a thousand business cards. You’ll thank yourself for waiting a few days or weeks.
Stephen Key is a successful award-winning inventor who has licensed over 20 products in the past 30 years. He is a board member of Accudial Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and is the author of two books “One Simple Idea: Turn your dreams into a licensing goldmine while letting others do the work,” and “Once Simple Idea For Startups Entrepreneurs,” from McGraw-Hill. Along with business partner Andrew Krauss, Stephen runs inventRight, a company dedicated to education. Teaching inventors and entrepreneurs the skills needed to successfully bring their ideas to market.
One Simple Idea For Licensing is available in book stores and online book retailers nationwide. One Simple Idea for Startups Entrepreneurs will be available November 5th, 2012. Visit www.inventright.com to learn more.