Big or small, before you name your new company, product or rock band, it’s well worth checking with a lawyer first. We’ve created a few brand names for clients- like “Kata” for a kaizen consultant, “Fearless Readers” for a comic shop, “Geotropix” for a GPS guided mapping systems integrator, “Technoconnecto” for a technology installation company and others.
Google is a great place to start checking a tradename- as is DNSStuff.com because most active brands will own their URL- or be published on the web. We use Google as a first step- because we also want to see what usage might be floating around the Internet- and, it also helps identify foreign language issues- which can always be interesting (the Chevy “Nova” meaning “No Go” in Spanish is the famous one).
The next step is to check with US Patent and Trademark Office.
So- you really have to wonder when someone who is considered a “marketing superstar” (Mark Burnett) makes a dumb mistake- like naming a new rock supergroup- after an existing rock group- even having an “identical mark.”
While we are on the subject of “marketing genius”- it’s also clear that Mark Burnett productions has zero understanding of web accessibility and search engine optimization- as this blog’s previous mention of the show ended up with a first page position on Google with a single post and properly tagged picture.
Read the entire MTV article by following this link: the excerpt that follows is the language you don’t want to hear about your new brand name.
The suit insisted that the “Rock Star” producers willfully ignored the fact that the Supernova moniker was unavailable and that “individuals within defendants’ own organizations informed defendants of plaintiff’s rights in the Supernova mark.” Using the Supernova name would cut into the original band’s future earnings, as it would interfere “with plaintiff’s business relationships” or cause the band to lose merchandising deals and potential offers to perform, according to the suit. The filing also suggested that some fans of the band might be confused and therefore duped into buying the new Supernova’s merchandise and music.In his ruling, Houston acknowledged that “the marks are identical, the parties operate in very similar or identical markets, the Supernova is distinctive and therefore strong, and there is evidence of actual confusion in the market.” Houston further noted that “irreparable harm [to the original Supernova] is presumed” and added that “defendants access to [a] large amount of monetary and promotional resources will effectively diminish, if not eliminate, [the original Supernova’s] commercial presence in the marketplace.”