Yellow Pages recently announced the winners of its ‘Best Business Name 2004′ competition. The finalists were highly ingenious, humorous and distinctive brands, but had any of them bothered to register them as trademarks?
Who: Yellow Pages/Judy White and others
Where: The UK
When: October 2004
Yellow Pages announced the winners of its "Best Business Name of the Year" competition. The contestants had been chosen from amongst those listed in its famous business pages, but it is to be hoped that part of the £5,000 prize will be advice on brand protection, as neither the winner nor at least some of the finalists appear to have previously registered their brands as trademarks.
Outright winner of the top prize was Judy White, a 35 year old running a one woman ironing and laundry business in Bristol under the brand name "Crease Lightning". Amongst the runners up in the regional finals were "Amp and Decks", a corporate entertainment company from Newcastle and "Melon Cauli" a greengrocer from Birmingham.
Why this matters:
All three of these brands have a descriptive element, and because of this they might encounter difficulties along the way to getting registration as a UK trademark. This is because brand names that are too descriptive of the products which they are being used to sell can fail the "distinctiveness" test which a trademark must pass to achieve registration.
Of the three, however, "Crease Lightning", has in marketinglaw's view sufficient distinctiveness to stand a very good chance of getting registered and for the few hundred pounds outlay needed to file the papers we would warmly recommend Miss White to get in quick before others further afield pick up on the national reports and get in first!