Startup Guide to Avoiding Brand Name Conflicts

Startup Guide to Avoiding Brand Name Conflicts

In this article we share the Startup Guide to Avoiding Brand Name Conflicts.

Starting your own business can be exciting – but also daunting at the same time. Were you aware that 49% of small business owners are unsatisfied with their blog or website name? Choosing a unique brand name isn’t as easy as it seems and could lead to disappointment – particularly if the name you’ve decided on is trademarked or doesn’t have domain availability.

So, how can you find a brand name for your startup without being faced with conflicts?

Keep reading as this guide talks you through finding a business name that you love and how to check its availability in a detailed search to avoid conflicts later on.

Why Should You Avoid Brand Name Conflicts?

Brand name conflicts can have negative consequences for your startup. Firstly, you could become embroiled in a court battle. Lengthy court battles can cost you a pretty substantial amount of money, especially if they are pretty lengthy. 

Brand name conflicts can also result in you giving up your brand name, essentially forcing you to restart your business from scratch. This can be quite demoralising and may incur additional costs. 

Not to mention that the other business could make claims for financial compensation based on the infringement. It’s definitely worth taking the necessary steps to ensure your brand name won’t bring you any conflict in the future.

Coming Up with an Original Business Name

Coming up with an original business name is quite tricky, though there are plenty of resources and sources of inspiration to help you develop your brand name. Some great places to start when coming up with a brand name include:

  • Existing business names – what names have your competitors chosen for themselves? You can use elements of their brand name to inspire your own.
  • Establishing your selling point – what makes your business different from your competitors? Consider using words that indicate your selling point in your business name.
  • Use literary devices – poetic devices aren’t just for poetry and can help you make your business name catchier and improve how it sounds.
  • Use name generating websites – if you have a few words you would like in your name, try putting them into a name generator to help you put them into a viable business name. Some generators even have a built-in domain name availability checker to make the process easier.
  • Try using unique words or words you have created yourself to make your brand name original.

Once you have come up with a few name ideas for your brand, you can move on to ensuring that you can use this name for your business without facing conflicts down the line.

How To Avoid Brand Name Conflicts at Your Startup

To avoid brand name conflicts at your startup, you need to have a few brand name ideas lined up for this process.

You must perform several checks to avoid infringing on someone else’s claims or rights to the name, and if your name doesn’t hold up after performing these checks, it’s good to have a few alternatives.

Clearance Search

A clearance search is a way to thoroughly check that your brand name isn’t already in use and nobody has existing registered rights to the name. 

A clearance search involves searching the UK, European Union Trade Mark, and International Trade Mark registers for existing entities using the name.

Performing a clearance search will help you to ensure that there are no infringements down the line.

Domain Availability

If you’re creating a startup business, you’ll need a website. If there is already a website with the name you plan to use, then you’re going to have trouble making your business easy to find online.

You can check domain availability using websites like GoDaddy or SquareSpace by entering your business name and searching. If the domain name is taken, you still have options. 

  • You can use different extensions to make your domain name unique – extensions are the part of your website name that comes after the full stop, such as, .com .shop, and. art. 
  • Or, if you can’t find an extension, you still have the option of purchasing the domain name from the previous owner (though this only works if they are willing to sell it, and are not currently using their website).

If these options don’t work, you may wish to perform the process again with one of your alternative brand name ideas.

Username Availability

A huge part of marketing your brand is social media. You must ensure that you can establish a social media presence for your brand and that interested parties can easily find your business on social media platforms. 

You can do this by starting the registration process for your brand’s social media accounts and entering your potential name in the ‘username’ bar.

Your brand name may be taken, so you could consider using an underscore or full stop to make the name unique. If this doesn’t work, you might consider using an alternative name.

Internet Searches

To ensure your company name is not associated with anything that could tarnish your brand, then you should perform internet searches of all your name ideas.

Scan the results for similar business names that could be a source of confusion or anything you would not wish to be associated with your business. 

Suppose another business uses a similar name to yours and sells the same products or provides similar services.

In that case, you should definitely reconsider your name, as this could result in confusing customers and brand name conflict.

Setting Up Your Own Trademark

If the name you have selected for your business is viable and performs all necessary searches, you must establish your trademark.

You can do this by visiting the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) and filling out online forms to register your trademark.

Please note that other entities could challenge your trademark later on, and registering your trademark is not the be-all and end-all of the process.

For more information, check out this trademark advice.

You can also register your brand name on Companies House, but you must do this alongside the trademark.

Just because you register your company on Companies House does not mean that you have the right to the name.

Register Your Domain name And Set Up Your Social Media

When you have obtained your trademark, you should also register your domain name and set up social media accounts for your business.

You shouldn’t wait too long to perform these steps, as you wouldn’t want to lose out on the domain and username.

You can register your domain by taking the following steps:

  • Find a reliable domain name registrar – some popular choices include GoDaddy Squarespace. Any registrar accredited with ICANN (International Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) will do.
  • Select the best domain name option – ensure the domain name you have chosen will be easy for interested parties to find. There are over 1,500 top-level domain extensions to choose from, including. cafe, ninja, and other niche extensions.
  • Avoid using numbers and hyphens – using numbers and hyphens will make your domain name difficult for customers and clients to remember, particularly where you place the hyphen in your domain name.
  • Ensure your domain is futureproof – avoid using popular modern catchphrases and trends in your domain name, and avoid using the current year. Your domain is a lasting investment and should remain relevant in the future.

You will have to buy your domain name, and they usually cost under £20. Once you have secured your domain name, you can move on to create your website, design your logo, and build your brand.

Beware Of Domain Name Hoarding

Since domain names are so precious, some larger companies’ pressure smaller companies to give up their domain names.

Domain name conflicts are usually taken to court, where the larger companies have a significant advantage due to their increased budget to pay for lawyers.

By dragging the conflict out in court, the larger company can also pressure the smaller company into settling to avoid spending thousands of pounds on a lengthy court battle.

You should also be aware that some internet users bulk buy domain names, only to sell them on at an inflated price for profit.

Since most domain names should cost less than £20, you should avoid paying more than this for a domain name – otherwise, you’re being ripped off.

You should choose a different name for your brand rather than fall victim to a domain name hoarder.

Summary

Avoiding brand name and trademark conflicts for your startup is a lengthy process, but it can save you plenty of time and money in the future.

Court battles over domain names and intellectual property rights can be lengthy and could cost your business quite a lot of money before it even gets off the ground. 

By performing the necessary checks, you can ensure you can use your brand name for your website and your social media.

Then, you’re free to purchase your domain name and start setting up your website, designing your logo, and establishing your social media presence without fear of conflict!

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We hope you have enjoyed this Startup Guide to Avoiding Brand Name Conflicts. If you would like more personal tips, advice, insights, and access to our community threads and other goodies, join me in our community.

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