Strang Trademarks


by Anne M. Berg

A trademark is the only form of intellectual property that can last forever. Unlike copyrights and patents, trademarks can be owned in perpetuity, if you manage them well. Bottom line: a trademark can be a high-value asset on your balance sheet — an asset with unlimited opportunity for equity creation.

And yet I’ve watched a seemingly endless parade of businesses using names that are not ownable as trademarks. Know this: highly generic or descriptive names are either difficult or impossible to own as a federal trademark. And they’re quite expensive to defend when you end up in a legal battle over them. Names like Computer Repair or Nail Salon or Tire Store are all incredibly weak names, although they describe the offering, they’re unownable as a business asset. What’s the strongest form of a trademark?

A completely coined name. In other words, a word not found in the dictionary. Like Netflix or Venmo or Vyway. If you do the trademark work properly, you’ll enjoy brand equity that builds over time. So please create a brand name you can own. Forever.