Intellectual property and R&D
Aleksandra Maciejewicz
Aleksandra Maciejewicz
21 May 2023

How to Choose a Name for a Startup (a Lawyer’s Perspective)

When conducting LDD (legal due diligence) on projects and companies, I often encounter one mistake that results not from lack of attention, but lack of knowledge. What is it?

It is about choosing a descriptive name for your project.

◻️Why is this a bad idea?

I know that from a marketing/sales perspective, signs that tell the recipient what good or service the mark is about are great. Another advantage is that they are resistant to rebranding and protect against typesquatting or cybersquatting.

However, if you are considering registering a verbal trademark – this is the proverbial own goal.

◻️To provide you with a complete picture: what is a descriptive (informational) mark?

It is a sign that consists exclusively of elements that can serve in commerce to indicate, in particular, the type of goods, their origin, quality, quantity, value, purpose, manner of manufacture, composition, function, or suitability.

Thus, it is not a good idea to choose such names:
➡️ ‘VITAMIN SHOT’ for, e.g., vitamin preparations (class 5) or isotonic drinks (class 32),
➡️ ‘MMF Multi Markets Fund’ for, e.g., financial services (class 36),
➡️ ‘CANNABIS’ for, e.g., beer (class 32) and alcoholic beverages (class 33),
➡️ ‘BIOKNOWLEDGE’ for, e.g. databases and software (class 9).

Non-distinctive marks (i.e., those that lack sufficient distinctiveness) are also a problem, for example:
➡️ ‘METAVERSE DRINK’ or ‘METAVERSE FOOD’ (classes 5, 29, 30, 32),
➡️ ‘THE FUTURE IS PLANT-BASED’ (classes 5, 30, 32),
➡️ ‘SMARTER SCHEDULING’ (class 9),
➡️ ‘MEET ME’ (classes 9, 38, 45).

Keep this in mind and don’t make this mistake when starting companies and launching new projects.

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