21 Nov '23
When starting a business, often one of the first steps is to come up with a catchy name for the company or product. For many businesses and marketing teams, a catchy name equals a recognizable name that makes it clear to customers at a glance what goods or services are being offered. The name basically describes what such a company does, or what kind of product it is. In many cases, we still have to disappoint start-ups and scale-ups when they tell us what, in their eyes, catchy name they have come up with for their new company or product. Because while a name that describes the goods or services may be ideal for marketing purposes, in a lot of cases these are names that do not qualify for trademark protection. And this of course is a pity, especially if this name is already being used and promoted many times by your company!
After all, from a trademark law perspective, how does it exactly work with descriptive names? One of the most important rules for registering a sign, such as a company or product name, as a trademark is that the sign must be distinctive and non-descriptive. A sign is considered descriptive if it indicates a characteristic of the goods or services being offered. In such a case, the sign does not meet the requirements (also called the absolute grounds) of trademark law and the name will be refused as a trademark. The explanation of this rule is actually quite logical. Since a trademark registration gives an exclusive right to a sign, these requirements should prevent a party from obtaining an exclusive right to, say, a generic word, which should remain free for anyone to use.
Therefore, when coming up with a new name, keep in mind (among other things) the rule of distinctiveness and non-descriptiveness. This can be done in a relatively simple way by incorporating a certain play on words, a non-existent word or other witticism into the name, so that it is not directly descriptive of the products or services offered. This way the name is recognizable and you can register it as a trademark, giving you exclusive rights to the name. And with this exclusive right, you can take action against third parties using an (almost) identical name.
Tip: make sure you check at the very beginning whether your name is eligible for a trademark, because it is better to have to make an adjustment at the beginning than when you have already achieved your first successes. If you are in doubt as to whether the proposed name is eligible for trademark protection, one of our trademark attorneys will be very happy to think with you!
22 Feb 24
15 Feb 24
15 Feb 24
09 Feb 24
02 Feb 24
01 Feb 24
22 Jan 24
18 Jan 24
16 Jan 24
08 Jan 24
05 Jan 24
04 Jan 24
Met uw inschrijving blijft u op de hoogte van de laatste juridische ontwikkelingen op dit gebied. Vul hieronder uw gegevens in om per e-mail op te hoogte te blijven.
Stay up to date with the latest legal developments in your sector. Fill in your personal details below to receive invitations to events and legal updates that matches your interest.
*This field is requiredI already have an account
Follow what you find interesting
Receive recommendations based on your interests
We ask for your first name and last name so we can use this information when you register for a Ploum event or a Ploum academy.
A password will automatically be created for you. As soon as your account has been created you will receive this password in a welcome e-mail. You can use it to log in immediately. If you wish, you can also change this password yourself via the password forgotten function.