This is the third blog in our How to Make Money with Trademarks series. In our previous blog, What is a Trademark & How to Make Money with Them, we talked about the definition of trademarks, how they are different from patents and copyrights, as well as the four-step process to making money with trademarks. In this post, we will dive into the details of the first step to making money with trademarks which is Creating a Money-Making Trademark.
How to Create a Money Making Trademark
If you visit the United States Patent and Trademark office website, you will see thousands of listings for trademarks. Some of these trademarks represent logos, slogans, phrases or company names for all types of products and services. All of them may be trademarks – but not all of them are money making trademark. If you want to create a money-making trademark, you will need to make sure it has two things:
- It must be distinctive
- It must be marketable
Let’s talk about the first component of a money making trademark which is distinctiveness. A distinct trademark is one that is different. A trademark that stands out. The best and most distinctive trademarks are words or phrases that you create yourself. Distinctiveness is important because other companies and individuals may not be willing to pay money to license or purchase your trademark if it is not distinctive – or does not stand out – from other trademarks in the marketplace. Distinctiveness is important because the more distinctive your trademark is, the more likely it is that you will be able to legally own your trademark. This is important because if you pick a phrase, word or logo that is very common, the government may not be willing to let you register and own the mark. If you are unable to prove that you are the legal owner of the mark and that you have a registered federal trademark, it may be very challenging to sell or license the trademark to someone else. They will want to know that you actually own the mark and have the right to do business regarding the mark before they invest money in the mark.
How to Create a Distinctive Trademark
So, how can you make sure that your mark is distinctive? You can do the following things:
- Try to think of a name or phrase that is catchy.
- Try using an alternative spelling
- Try to invent a word altogether (e.g., Twitter, Pinterist)
- Try thinking of a name that describes the goods or services in an unconventional way (e.g., Paperless Post)
How to Know if Your Trademark is Distinctive Enough
Not sure if your mark is distinctive enough? Create your own focus group. A focus group is simply a group of people that represent your target market that can give you their feedback and insight before you spend a lot of money on a particular mark or brand. You can accomplish this by simply asking a few close friends for their opinion as it relates to your mark. Another way to know if your mark is distinctive enough is to see if anyone else is using your mark or something similar. You want to know if anyone else has ever used it or is currently using it because this will let you know if it is really as unique as you think it is. We will get into details about having a Comprehensive Name Search done by a trademark attorney before you begin spending heavily to register and own a trademark. However, a very simple way to at least start seeing if anyone else is using the name is by doing a Google Search for the phrase or names using quotations. Take a look at the results of your search to see if the mark is being used in a similar way with similar products and services as the ones you envisioned using it. If there are already a lot of results for the name or phrase, it may be best to try something else. The less search results relating to your name or slogan – the more distinctive your mark!
How to Know if Your Trademark is Marketable
The last aspect to creating a money making trademark is to come up with a trademark that is marketable. You can invent the most iconic word or phrase, but if there is not a market that would be interested in licensing or buying your trademark – it may not be a “money maker.” The way to create a marketable trademark is to think of your intended buyer or audience when creating it. Instead of just creating random words or phrases and hoping someone is willing to license them, try to focus on one specific market or industry that you would want to potentially pitch your trademark to. It helps if it is an industry that traditionally spends a lot on branding, marketing and advertising. An easy way to identify these types of industries as well as specific companies is to make a list of the current companies that are advertising heavily via social media, television commercials, etc.
Now that we understand how to create a marketable trademark, check out our next post on How to Own A Trademark.