"What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet."
What does the famous Shakespeare quote teach us about what names mean? In it, Shakespeare tries to tell us that names are meaningless and that things would still have their substance regardless of what they are called… and maybe that’s true for some things. But for others, names matter… A lot.
When you have that light-bulb moment and come up with your company name, you want to do everything you can to protect it. Why? From a “thoughtful head” perspective, because you have already invested lots of time and money into creating presence for your company under that name – on the internet, on social media, on business cards… But from an “emotional heart” perspective, this is even more true, because your company name is what you came up with after hours of careful consideration and a bit of serendipity. It feels very personal and oh so very “you”. And in my case, as my actual name (Vera) is part of my company name (Vera Vera On The Wall), it could not be more personal…
I’m incredibly happy to announce that I have now successfully registered my company name as my own trademark in the UK. With the help of the UK Intellectual Property Office, I successfully completed the paperwork and waited the required time period and have now created Vera Vera On The Wall as my own trademark. It has been an expensive process that has taken time, money and patience, particularly as I wanted to ensure that the company trademark extends to cover future products categories that I would like to expand into. But the end result is that great and is an investment in the protection of my company, brand, and work.
Why does this all matter? Well, it matters because company names matter! As an interesting article by BBC points out, company names can have various meanings and it’s difficult to come up with something that sends the right signal to your customers. It’s a tricky balance between trying to be descriptive so prospective customers know what you do and trying to be interesting and catchy so that they remember it. It also helps to be lucky enough to be able to get everything in one go (the company name, the domain name and the trademark, not to mention the Facebook page, the Twitter handle, the Pinterest name) – this is not an easy feat in today’s world where there are companies whose sole function is to buy domain names with the hope of selling them on to other businesses. The ultimate goal of the company name of course is to be catchy, memorable, interesting and hopefully say something about your brand and personality. But that is often a difficult task, when faced with the realities of availability of trademarks, domain names, etc.
Trademarking a company name can be a lengthy and expensive process. As a result, many young companies wait before making that investment. But there are numerous stories of companies who successfully built an audience and gained some customers, only to find out that somebody else owns the trademark to their company name, forcing them to switch company names and start all over. That would be a difficult scenario to deal with in general, but particularly even more so, when your own name is part of the company name. All reasons why I chose to complete my trademark early on and what I wholeheartedly recommend to others - if you are lucky enough to come up with a company name that means something to you and your audience and if that name is available on the internet, then claim it and protect it!