Trademark Question: Does the Length of a Mark Matter?

Posted January 29, 2019 by

A world-class Brand should be distinct from the competitors in its space. In order to generate a distinctive and differentiated Brand name, a branding agency must possess and incorporate trademark knowledge into the naming process. A question often posed by clients is whether a longer mark is easier to secure.  The answer is that it can be, but a longer mark carries its own impediments.

While adding additional words or phrases does add to the uniqueness of a mark, when checking a mark for conflicts – the longer a mark is, the more opportunities for conflict arise. Let’s examine the pros and cons to this tactic –

PROS:

Brand Equity

There is potential to use additional words or phrases to tie back to the master Brand. This can increase Brand awareness and transfer positive associations from the master Brand to the product and vice versa. However, keep in mind that this works both ways. Any negative association with either the Brand or product will be transferred respectively as well.

Differentiation

Adding additional words or phrases does make the mark more distinct from the – likely more commonly used— short names preexisting within the space.

CONS:

Conflict Potential

Something such as “Caterpillar Ultra-Powered Washer by Washies Inc.” would likely be screened in multiple classes. Caterpillar would be the key determiner for conflict as it is the most distinct. Words that are synonyms for “Ultra”, “Powered”, or “Washer” would be important. So, something like “Powering Up Your Washer” or “Caterpillar Super Clean” would be weakening the strength of the mark “Caterpillar Ultra-Powered Washer by Washies Inc.” However, if just “Caterpillar” was being used by a relevant owner within the space or classes, the length of the mark made no difference at all because the key phrase was in use by a major Brand in an adjacent field.

Impact & Memorability

From a marketing and Brand identification standpoint, people are just better suited to remember shorter, “punchier” names. Think of every word as taking up more real estate in person’s brain… The brain will keep what it wants to know and reject what it does not. Every additional word creates the danger that the intended target’s brain will reject what is most important: The product name.

A longer name does not increase the chance of a trademarkable, registerable, or marketable name. If you must go the “long-name route,” investigate acronyms or a key word that will increase memorability when used colloquially by the target audience.

Tags:

Brand Naming | Trademark

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