A brand can be considered as many things from several perspectives. A brand is a construction of customer sentiments. A brand is a value on a balance sheet. But a brand is not a legal entity unless it has trademark protection. If your name is not registered as a trademark, there may be a number of restrictions on how you can use it.

For example, many people enjoy using a ‘gmail’ account. But, in certain European territories, you can only have one if you acquired it before mid-2005. Thereafter, a series of successful trademark challenges from pre-existing gmail companies drove a coach and horses through Google’s email branding strategy and imposed the less-succinct @googlemail.com on later applicants.

Similarly, since 1978 Apple Inc. has faced a series of high-profile, resource-consuming trademark disputes with the Beatles’ holding company Apple Corps.

It’s not just differentiation on the shelf that’s at stake here. Many businesses are now discovering a new argument for trademarking: namely, when their search engine optimisation is compromised because another party owns the trademark to the keywords with which they want to be linked.

Nomen offers a complete trademark service via its sister company, Legimark.

Given the huge number of products launched each year, original names are hard to find, so it’s all the more important that once you get a good one, you protect it via a trademark.