Many startup founders donâ€™t see the point of hiring a lawyer to trademark their name or logo. After all, the trademark application seems relatively simple, if you follow the instructions and file everything correctly.
But, as with so many things, the trademark process can be deceptively complicated. Your application can be rejected for any number of reasons, even if you do everything by the book.
One example is having a mark that isnâ€™t sufficiently distinctive. This can prevent Calzoncillos Calvin Klein EspaÃ±a registration for even the most conscientious and diligent business owner.
What makes a trademark â€œsufficiently distinctive?â€ Itâ€™s a good question â€“ and one that eludes a simple answer. Basically, your trademark canâ€™t merely describe what your product does; it has to be distinctive enough that consumers could hear the name and think of your product.
Good examples of distinctive trademarks are Hulu and Kodak. These brand names donâ€™t describe what the product does (TV streaming and film/photography, respectively); rather, they are made up words that have no meaning in and of themselves. Perhaps counter-intuitively, distinctive names like these are actually easier to register than names that describe what the product does (this might partially explain why TVStreamer and FilmCompany arenâ€™t famous brand names, although those names are also pretty boring).
Another factor in the trademark approval process is making sure that the mark attempting to be registered is not similar to any other marks that are already registered, to prevent whatâ€™s called â€œlikelihood of confusion.â€ Some factors in determining the likelihood of confusion are how similar the marks are, how similar the products or services are, and how well-known the originally-existing mark is, among others.
These are just a few examples of things that can snag an otherwise properly-filed trademark application. A lack of investment up front can end up costing businesses time and money down the line â€“ time and money that could have been spent acquiring new customers and growing their business.