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Once again we have looked at all EU and USPTO trademark applications the last year - 2012 - and done a quick analysis of what words are used.
The total number of different "words" are over 130.000. The distribution is as usual: 90 percent are used less than 5 times, like PINTEREST and JABRA, and the top 10 percent are used up to 2000 times, like ONE and LOVE.
Popular USPTO trademark words
What words were popular 2012 when it came to getting a US trademark registration?
A new word on the top list is CLOUD, wich was strong already in 2011 with 372 occurrences and this year made it to the top list when it showed up in 454 trademarks applications. Compare that with 2006, when CLOUD only showed up in 28 trademark applications.
Other trademark words moving up on the list are: WATER, FREE, STAR, BODY an NATIONAL.
Single letters are very popular in trademark filings, like T, N and E. A rising star here is the letter M, which appears in more than 700 trademark applications last year compared to 450 the year before.
Words moving down on the list are GREEN, REAL, USA and SOCIAL.
The top 100 USPTO trademark words 2012:
Note that we have eliminated the most common "stop words" like THE, IS, AT, YOU, AND etc, and some company attributes like INC, LLC, COMPANY and GROUP.
Popular EU trademark words
We have also done a similar analysis of the very popular EU trademark registration called CTM (from OHIM). A CTM (Community Trade Mark) covers 27 countries and many languages. Surprisingly there is not a large difference between the EU trademark list and the US trademarks. English is the dominating language, at least in the in the pan-European trademark registration CTM.
A couple of trademark words you find in the CTM top list that you don't find in the USPTO top list: ECO, HOTEL, LONDON, QUALITY, ROYAL, EASY, EUROPEAN and PARIS.
If you look at all USPTO trademark filings during 2011, you find 130.000 different "words". 90 percent of these words are used less than 5 times, like QUORA and SINGER. But the top 10 percent are used as many as 2000 times, like LIFE and HEALTH.
If you are thinking of a new name for a business or trademark, you should probably avoid all these words. They are so common that they are very weak as trademark components.
The list has few surprises so we compared it with 2006 and found only two new, very common trademark words. Can you guess which ones? (Answer at bottom of blog post)
We also compared this list with a similar list for EU trademarks (CTM/OHIM), but found no major differences.
We have eliminated the most common "stop words" like THE, IS, AT, YOU, AND etc, and some company attributes like INC, COMPANY and GROUP.
The top 100 trademark words 2011:
The two new words on the list of fop 100 trademark words 2011, when compared to 2006, is number 61 and 94. Not very surprising.
In an interview with ArcticStartup I was asked to come up with my best tips to start-ups regarding trademark and their new business name:
1. Choose a name that can be trademarked.
Why? You will avoid conflicts, enable expansion and sleep better. There are two basic requirements on your new trademark:
a) It should not be generic in your business area. The name "CoolApps" is generic if you're going to deliver a new marketplace for apps.
b) No one else should be using a "confusingly similar" trademark in your potential markets. Start your search at markify.com for confusingly similar marks. Avoid all similar marks that are in your line of business. If you are uncertain, contact a trademark attorney.
2. Buy all relevant domain names.
a) For most international start-ups that means a .com. Don't only look for available domain names. Even if the domain name is taken, it often is for sale. Average prices for domain names at auctions are $500
b) Buy 5-10 typos.
c) Buy at least 5-10 country extensions (ccTLDs). Choose the biggest markets where you think you may expand.
3. Register the trademark in your primary market.
In Europe choose the Pan-European CTM trademark, which covers 27 EU countries for a fee of 850 Euros.
In the US a USPTO trademark costs $325.
4. Watch and protect your trademark.
If there is a new confusingly similar application you should act upon it. So sign up for a free trademark watch at Markify.
Don't hesitate to contact me if you think I can help
Today Markify is launching the world’s first free search and watch for similar trademarks. Our vision is to make it easier for entrepreneurs and brand name creators to avoid conflict and protect their trademarks and domain names.
With Markify you can quickly and easily check any name to see if anybody is already operating under a similar trademark - both in the US (USPTO data) and in Europe (CTM data). So you can avoid them in your search for a new domain name or trademark. Avoid what the law calls "likelihood of confusion". Otherwise you might have to change your name later. A risk no business should take.
This first blog post cover the story on why and how we built this new kind of trademark search that is both fast, accurate and free.
Entrepreneurs and brand name creators know how hard it is to create a new, good name. The crowded domain name space has made it even more difficult. And when you have created a name and you think you can secure the domain name, there is still one big obstacle left:
Are there any similar trademarks out there, doing anything related to your business?
To answer that question you have to spend at least $500 on an availability search for similar trademarks, and that is for checking just one name, in one market. And it takes 48 hours to get the result, which is of course way to long in an intense name creating session.
So that was the problem: Trademark search has been slow, difficult and expensive.
After being involved in professional name processes for ten years I decided to try to change this. I wanted to make trademark search easy, accurate, fast and free. So entrepreneurs and brand name creators easily could check possible names for similar trademarks and domain name availability immediately.
I knew from the start that it was not going to be easy, that we would have to be a team with some very specific competencies.
As it happens, my father-in-law, Benny Brodda, is a professor emeritus in computational linguistics (Stockholm University), and he is a pioneer in the trademark search field. He built one of the first software programs for finding similar trademarks and sold his successful trademark search company in the 90’s. Benny has 30 years of experience and is of course a very valuable advisor.
The rest of us in the team are a mix of software engineers, linguists and trademark experts. We spend most of our time on two things: the algorithm work and creating a user experience that reduces the built in complexity. And we all share a passion for business names - trademarks or domain names.
Together we have built a new trademark search that is easy, accurate, fast and free.
The core: Accurate name similarity
Every year there are many thousand examples of trademark applications that didn’t survive because they were too similar to a registered trademark. Here are some of them:
|New application:||Registered trademark:|
|POWERED BY PERVASIC||PERVASIVE SOFTWARE|
The entrepreneurs and brand name creators behind these and many thousand other applications didn’t just loose the registration fee. They all lost a lot of valuable time and some of them had to pull back a launch at great costs. Then they had to start a new name process - if they were still up to it . . .
But is it really that hard, to determine if two names are similar or not?
If you want to produce a very accurate search result, one that finds most potential “killers” (we call them that) without a lot of “noise”, then it is very hard. From the start we knew that if we were going to be useful to entrepreneurs, we couldn’t deliver search results with too much noise.
It took us in the team 1,5 year to build the core technology, the similarity algorithm. Endless hours spent on statistical tests and different tweaks. A long time but we think it paid off.
We think our search results are extremely accurate. We can today find the similar trademarks with much less noise than any other trademark search service we have seen. And we are constantly tuning and improving the similarity algorithm, so any feedback from you is very valuable to us.
What you should do
To get the most out of Markify you should follow these advices:
- Use our free trademark search early on in your name processes - to save time and avoid future conflicts. Don’t forget that you save at least $500 on every search!
- You should also use Markify to watch your business name or trademark. So sign up for the free trademark watch service and we will send you a weekly mail with all registrations similar to your name (you can watch any 5 names for free). This will save you $100 a year per name.
- If you are uncertain, spend your money instead on getting good advice from a trademark expert. We will provide links to some of them and get a small fee in return.
Business model? We are developing some great premium services that I’ll come back to.
Being a start-up we are very eager to hear your opinion. Mail me your thoughts (use my first name as mail address) or comment below.
Follow on twitter: benoitfallenius
Benoit Fallenius Founder and CEO
In this blog I will mostly write about two subjects:
1. Trademarks, domain names, naming and branding - Four separate areas that often are not that separate.
2. Markify news - Features, markets, pricing, challenges etc.
Feedback and questions are always welcome. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.