Guest: Samantha Bradshaw

the episode

I had a great conversation with Samantha Bradshaw, a seasoned small business and intellectual property lawyer, about the process of naming a business.  Yes, you want a cool name, but you also want one you can own and protect.

Proactive Legal Prevention: Samantha emphasizes the importance of proactive measures to keep creative service providers out of legal entanglements. She highlights how businesses often encounter challenges when they receive “angry lawyer letters” or court documents, underscoring the necessity of building strategies to prevent such issues from arising in the first place.

Balancing Uniqueness and Descriptiveness: Samantha discusses the delicate balance between creating a business name that is both unique and descriptive. While marketing professionals may advocate for a company identity that is SEO-friendly, something that directly describe the services offered, Samantha explains the limitations of trademark protection for such generic terms. Instead, she encourages business owners to explore names that strike a balance between suggesting the nature of the business while remaining distinct and protectable.

Trademark Protectability Spectrum: Samantha introduces the concept of a spectrum of trademark protectability, ranging from generic to fanciful names. She explains how terms which are overly descriptive or generic, such as “Photographer Marketing Services,” are unlikely to receive trademark protection. Conversely, names that are arbitrary or fanciful, like “Apple” for computers, hold significant trademark power due to their uniqueness.

Creative Naming Strategies: Samantha shares practical advice on how to generate creative and trademarkable business names. She suggests brainstorming sessions where business owners can combine suggestive elements related to their industry to create distinctive names. By leveraging word-mashing techniques and considering tangentially related concepts, businesses can craft memorable and protectable brand identities.

Trademark’s Role in Business Growth: Finally, Samantha underscores the broader implications of trademark protection beyond legal compliance. Trademarks serve as essential assets that facilitate business growth, franchising, licensing opportunities, and brand recognition. By securing a trademark for their business name, entrepreneurs lay a solid foundation for future expansion and success.

our guest Samantha Bradshaw

Samantha Bradshaw is a small business and IP lawyer. After spending 5 years in Beirut, Lebanon, she came back to the US in 2018 and founded InLine Legal, the only 100% virtual Virginia-licensed law firm that keeps creative service providers out of the courtroom and in the studio with chief legal officer services for Virginia’s small businesses.
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