It’s never easy giving up on something that you love. Whether it’s a significant other, your favorite restaurant that is closing it’s doors, the last episode of Seinfeld, or that old t-shirt that just fits perfectly. I’m particularly guilty of that last one, and would be about Seinfeld if it weren’t for the constant re-runs that started before the show was even over.
That feeling of having to give up on something you love happened this past week with the Harvest Helper. No, no, not the product, just the name. See, when you name your business or product, it’s important to ensure you are not infringing on a similar named product in your same industry. However, you can have a similar or same name in a different industry – like Delta Faucets and Delta Airlines. It’s highly unlikely that you are going to go to the faucet aisle at the local hardware store when it’s time to catch your next flight, so it’s ok that they share the same name. I’m by no means a lawyer, so if you find yourself in this position, please consult with your attorney.
After scoping the google for similar named products in similar industries, you must also ensure your suggested name is not trademarked at the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) by searching their database for your desired name. After you have completed this basic search, and are confident that your name is not shared by a similar product in a similar industry, you have 2 choices as far as I see it. You can contact your lawyer and have them do their work to ensure you can trademark your name, which of course will cost a bit of money. Or you can jump in with both feet, risk a little bit of money ($275 for a Standard Application Fee) and file for the mark yourself.
Even if you do consult with an attorney, which we did, and there is no mark registered for your name, which there wasn’t, it still may not be worth the legal fight if another business objects to your name use, especially if your industries are similar, or even close. I would suggest always consulting an attorney before proceeding with naming and patents, and then be prepared to pivot from your original plan if some issues arise, as they did with us.
And now, here we are, giving up on the name. The name that started our project, the name that was perfect (in our opinion), the name that we loved. It’s been a long week and a half, trying to find that next perfect name. Most of the ideas we have come up with are in use for similar type gardening products, or for hydroponic systems that are currently being developed. However – we finally feel we have landed on a name – THE name – for our product. We will be introducing it to our loyal followers first, and hope to release it by 3/3/17, stay tuned!