Why you should always check to see if your business name can be trademarked. As Seen On TV edition
Following up on my other post, on how the Portland band “The Slants” cannot get a trademark from the Federal Government because of their race, there is a company called “As Seen On TV” that cannot get a trademark either. But unlike the Slants, this is because of basic trademark law. The company cannot get a trademark because their name is to generic and has been used since TVs first came out.
We all know the company. Their commercials usually appear late at night featuring some new products that you should buy. The company does not make any, it usually just markets and sells other peoples inventions. They are publicly traded on the stock market, so we can see their earnings over the years. And yes, you guessed it, the company is losing money each year. Why? Well as the internet becomes faster and more people use it, the market for goods also expands. But that is just one problem the company has. A lot of companies are losing money because they are not adopting to the internet.
“As seen on TV” is in the public domain and you can use it yourself:
The biggest mistake the company made was its name. It cannot be trademarked. There name is great for a business name, but as stated before, it is to generic to be trademarked. Same goes for the red logo, as companies have used that long before them.
Not using a trademarkable business name or product can hurt:
That is why I called this post “why you should always check if your business name can be trademarked”. The last thing you want is to grow a successful business, but only later find out that your name is copied by other companies. So all your marketing and advertising goes in vain, as any company can use the red logo and text. That is a big problem because I can just make a item and put it in packaging with the as seen on TV text and logo, minus the .com part, and almost every customer will think I am part of the asseenontv.com company. I would list on Amazon, and I guarantee I would get a lot of sales just based on the name. As a matter of fact, that would be a great case study.
So in conclusion, before you choose a business name, make sure to get it trademarked, or you know it can be trademarked. You don’t have to register the trademark, as in the US, trademarks are protected by common law. As I was making a another video about how to sell cell phone cases online, which was my last business, I posted a video about how to start a brand. I was asked many times by listeners if they should brand their cell phone cases. My reply was yes, if you feel like your business will benefit from it in the beginning, but to make sure your brand can be protected. The world is full of counterfeits. Do not let other sellers sell your items with your brand name because you did not choose a proper name.
Now what should As Seen On TV do if they could go back in time? That is a tough question as the name itself was easy to remember for customers, and it was catchy. The red logo catches the eye everything I see it at stores like Walgreens. If they choose a different name, it would require a larger marketing budget, and from their latest 10-k, that is something they cannot do now or ever in the past.
Here is their current logo. As you can see the only thing that is different between this logo and a competitors is the .com part.