Brainstorming works best with small group of people face-to-face. I`ve never gotten good results on line. We brainstorm at each session of the Denver IDEA Cafe, join us here, or start and IDEA Cafe Meetup group near you that can brainstorm this and all the other problems/opportunities that will come up as you get started. See http://ideacafe.meetup.com
Just thought I`d jump in here. I launched a cookie business two months ago, which I`d been working on for a year. I named mine The Cozy Cookie Company and chose the url www.CozyCookies.com. One thing I noticed *after* I reserved the url is that there is another site called CozyCookie.com which sells a cookie-shaped toy. Not the end of the world, but now when you search on "cozy cookie", that website shows before mine. So my advice is to at least do a search on your proposed name and see what you find. For example, if you want to use "Joan`s Marvelous Cookies", then do a google search on that. For all you know, you might find a "Joan`s Marvelous Bowling Shoes" hogging the first several results pages. This would make it hard to find you online...and also puts a very un-cookie image in people`s heads.
BTW, I think your first name would sound great in your business name. "Joan" has a homey comfy ring to it.
Would a cookie taste as sweet by any other name?
A cookie is a cookie is a cookie.
Vs. Weak Marks
Some trademarks are entitled to greater protection than others. There are five basic types of marks, in order from those with the most protection to the least, they are:
Coined: completely new and made up terms (such as Exxon® and Kodak®).
Arbitrary: not made up, but unrelated to the goods or services (such as Yahoo!®).
Suggestive: words which relate to the goods or services, but are not descriptive of them (such as "Apple-A-Day" for vitamins).
Descriptive: terms which can be used to refer to a product or services (such as "Wireless" for a cellular phone).
Generic: words which are commonly used to refer to a good or service, or answer the question "what is it?" (such as "Laptop" for a portable computer)
Coined, arbitrary and suggestive names are generally able to become registered trademarks, provided someone has not already registered a confusingly similar mark for a related product or service. Coined and arbitrary marks are given the `strongest` protection and are thus the most desirable. Descriptive marks may sometimes be registered, but generally are afforded less protection. For this reason, descriptive marks are considered `weak.` Generic trademarks are the weakest of all - they are entitled to little or no protection.
Why is it important to perform a trademark search before filing a
trademark application with the USPTO?
If another business has already registered a similar name in your field, an application to register your proposed name could be refused by the USPTO. And even if there are no similar registrations, another business using a similar name prior to your date of first use may have superior rights and could affect your rights to the name – even suing to block a registration or to stop your use of the name. A comprehensive search is the best way to assure that your investment in protecting and marketing a name will be protected.
At what point is it not possible to protect a business name?
If I`ve already started operating and using a name, can I go back and protect it later?
And what if I`ve started using a business name, but I don`t tell people I`ve protected it legally?
Finally, what if I`ve protected it legally, disclosed the fact that it is protected, but when I see others using the name I allow their use to continue?