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What makes a business name eligible for a trademark?

On Behalf of | May 26, 2023 | Trademarks

Several key factors determine trademark eligibility for a business name. While the specific requirements may vary depending on the jurisdiction, certain general criteria must be met. 

Here are the essential elements that contribute to a business name being eligible for trademark protection.


To be eligible for trademark registration, a business name must be distinctive and capable of identifying the source of goods or services. Names that are generic or merely descriptive are generally not considered distinctive enough. Instead, arbitrary, fanciful, suggestive or coined names tend to be more likely to be eligible for trademark protection.


A business name should not cause confusion among consumers by being too like existing trademarks in the same industry or category. The name should be sufficiently unique to avoid confusion or misleading consumers into thinking they are associated with another business.

Not offensive or deceptive

Trademark offices typically reject offensive, immoral, or scandalous names. Similarly, names that are deceptive or likely to mislead the public about the nature or quality of the goods or services provided are not eligible for trademark protection.


Before seeking trademark registration, it is important to conduct a comprehensive search to ensure that the proposed business name is not already in use or registered by another company. If a similar or identical name is found, it may lead to a rejection of the trademark application.

International considerations

If a business intends to operate in multiple countries, it is important to consider trademark registration in each jurisdiction separately. Trademark laws vary across countries, and eligibility criteria may differ as well. Conducting a thorough trademark search and seeking legal advice can help navigate these complexities.

It is advisable to see professional guidance throughout the process to ensure compliance with local laws and maximize the chances of successfully securing a trademark for the business name.