—Mark Prus, Marketing Consultant at NameFlashSM
I am a professional name developer. As part of my naming service, I employ a trademark attorney to give me advice on the availability of the names I develop. If there is any question about the availability of a name, I either strike it from the client submission or present it with a big red flag noting the potential conflict. I also conduct a common law usage screen to identify trademarks in use but not necessarily registered with the Trademark Office. Those names get removed from the list of recommended names or red flagged as well.
Recently, Jennifer Aniston changed the name of her perfume at launch from “Lolavie” (which roughly translates to "laughing at life" in French) because she said she was concerned about potential trademark infringement with Marc Jacob’s “Lola,” which is a current bestseller. The perfume is now called (hold your breath…) Jennifer Aniston.
My question is, how far into the process did the perfume naming go before someone actually said…”you know, “Lolavie” is awfully close to “Lola.” Perhaps we should change the name?”
Why are trademark considerations often a “last minute” decision? Well, one theory is clients think the name developer is doing it when in reality some name developers don’t consider trademark review to be part of their “task” (in my 25+ year career as a marketer, I’ve been told that by a few name developers I have hired). Some name developers feel that checking trademarks is the job of the client. And sometimes clients fall in love with names without checking the trademark availability.
Another theory is trademark review can be expensive and difficult…but how hard was it to figure out that “Lolavie” might potentially conflict with “Lola?” Heck, my dog could probably figure that one out. Why wait until the launch date to change the name?
I don’t think any professional name developer would have recommended “Lolavie” when “Lola” was already in the marketplace. I certainly would not have done so, and I sincerely hope that other name developers would refrain from recommending names that obviously won’t work! There are many sources of name development. Please choose one who appreciates the wisdom of checking out trademark availability before recommending a name!