Clearance Comes First

Here’s the scenario.  You’re a large consumer products company.  You are about to launch the latest fragrance, deep fried cheese-stuffed pizza crust, media player, or whatever.   What do you do?  After all of the brainstorming and consulting, there’s a list of possible brand names.  Which do you pick?

Well, nothing is left to chance.  The stakes are too high.  So you hire a marketing firm to conduct a survey, right?  Wrong.  You send the list to legal and ask if the names are clear for use as trademarks.   Why?  Because a knockout search costs $200-$400 dollars per name.  A marketing survey can easily cost $25,000-$30,000 to draft and administer.  Do you really want to drop that kind of money on a marketing survey without even knowing if the proposed trademarks are available for use?  It’s way more cost effective to clear the marks first than to commission a survey, only to find out later that your top two choices are not available for use, and you have to start from scratch.

So what if you’re not a large consumer products company?  What if you’re not hiring a marketing firm to do a survey?  You still need to clear your trademarks before you start using them.  It’s such a small expense in the scheme of things and it’s the right thing to do.  You don’t want to get sued for trademark infringement, and you don’t want to have to rebrand if you can help it.  And make sure that you ask your trademark attorney what you’re getting for the money. You should understand exactly what the process is and what the options are and what you’re getting and what you’re not getting.  If you pay for Trademark-o-Rama, you will get Trademark-O-Rama.  And Trademark-O-Rama is not good!!