Tungsten Branding wrote an insightful article on the costs associated with branding. Not surprising was the affordable options available to startups. Tungsten identified several companies that can provide naming, design, and domain name availability services. But even these entry level services are estimated to cost between $3,000 to $5,000. For any startup that is bootstrapping research and development, operations, and marketing, that is a significant amount of money to spend especially if it turns out that you can’t use the name you paid for.
Although the temptation to do everything at once is great when dealing with a new company name or product name, patience can be your greatest ally. Start with the naming – pause to conduct a trademark search – then move forward with logo design and domain name acquisition. How long you have to pause depends on the way you decide to conduct a trademark search. If you get a trademark lawyer involved, you should expect at least a one-day turn around. Some attorneys will turn the search around the same day, but it really depends on the individual attorney’s schedule.
You can go with a free trademark search option, but the old adage that you get you pay for has never been more true than with a free search option. A trademark search is much more involved than what these free search options offer.
You can spend the time to learn trademark law and do the search yourself. But the old adage that a person who represents himself has a fool for a client is true. Trademark law is deceptively simple. In reality, it is a complex balancing of factors that takes time to fully understand.
Then there are paid trademark search applications like BOB. The software applications cost less than manual trademark searches and can return the search results quicker. BOB is the only application, though, that considers the relatedness of goods confusion factor using actual prior case decisions. This difference is significant because it produces the most thorough; thus, reliable, search results.