Coca-Cola, SONY, Nike, PIXAR, DreamWorks....what's left

Hi all,

I’ve been wanting to create my own company name & logo etc… but don’t quite know where to start. There are already so many companies out there that use so many different names, I’m not sure which names can actually be used.

Take the firm “Jaguar” for example. They make great cars but their name is from an animal. Does that mean I or anyone else can’t use the word “Jaguar” (which is in any dictionary) because a car company has stolen that name from us.

Does a company have the right to own a word in the English language? Sometimes I could come up with a real great name but then find it already in use by someone selling…Shoes or something else online. I can understand that a phrase could be a trademark like “DreamWorks” but what about “Universal” - that’s another word that can be found in the dictionary.

I would really like to have my own company name & logo but not at the risk of a costly lawsuit. And how does the law stand with these maters? I’m sure that there are a lot of people out there that have “Macintosh” as their last name. Can these people simply open a store or online service under a family name without being the victim of another huge lawsuit? It doesn’t seem fair that someone can’t use their own name in a family business.

If you have any useful links & information about these matter please post them. I would also like to here what you have to say…especially from people who own a trademark.



I’m not 100% sure but I think you can use a same name if you’re not doing the same thing- i.e you could have a ‘jaguar’ car and a different ‘jaguar’ hot drink. But I’m not 100% sure of this, as I said.
Even if you technically can, it doesn’t stop someone from suing you either- there are a lot of fine points when law is concerned and its always better to ask a lawyer these kinda questions (though they usually charge :< )

I think that’s right about it being ok if it’s a different business and you’re not trying to pass yourself off as them. Didn’t Atari have a Jaguar Console? Presumably they would have been careful to choose the name and weren’t too worried about lawsuits.

Isn’t there something called jaguar in OSX ?.. or maybe it is panther :slight_smile:

As far as you are not in any related business then you should be fine with standard words and names. Microsoft has the term ‘windows’ trademarked but as far as I know the glass panes in my house are still called windows and they don’t have any Microsoft logo on them :wink:

The problem with the big names (apple, jaguar, etc.) is that they can move into any kind of business at any time and dispute the name there and then. Even if you have ‘jaguar softdrinks’ registered years before jaguar (might) go into softdrinks then the court might rule that it was not smart to register such a strong brand name in that branche as it was always already a possibility that jaguar would move into other markets (I know, stupid example but it get’s the idea across).

I personally think that it is well possible to think of a completely new name. When I founded my own company I actually wanted to get into 3D graphics for presentations and animations. There was a well established 3D graphics company called Automated Images and I thought that name was ultimately cool so I wanted a simillar name for my own company. I came up with ‘Integrated Moves’. Funny enough my company has almost nothing to do with 3D graphics these days, it’s a software house that develops large corporate database applications.

Also, I was looking for a nice name for my personal website and found out that nobody had registered the name TechnoGremlin (so I did), hence my forum name here (I couldn’t use the full name as it seemed to long for the forum software).

Be creative. Look at movie trailers and you see hundreds of names sometimes reflecting one- or three-person shops. My fave is still, Available Light, Ltd.

My fave is Industrial Light and Magic, not only because it has a nice ring to it but also because it links the feel of technology with the realms of fantasy.

Here are a few suggestions:

  • Constructive Imagination
  • Digital Clay Company
  • Photonic Exhibition
  • Render the Future
  • Raytracing Unlimited

ok, I’ll better stop now 8)

The name Jaguar was used by Atari years back for a new console, so I assume it’s free for anyone to use.

I think that statement is true about it being ok to use someone else’s name so long as you aren’t in the same business. But it’s better to have a unique name in case you have different plans in the future, check this out:

You just have to be careful of the big industries because they have a lot more money and resources for legal stuff. Most people don’t like you using their brand for fear you are trading off their name.

One thing that is handy is if you have a name that is like those used by the big industries. That way, if people mispell their web URL, you get more hits. Say you call yourself googol Inc. How many people do you think go to google per day? Millions probably. How many do you think will accidentally type (that one’s taken BTW)? Higher than the number who will type something like

You could even jumble the letters up. The website for Industrial Light & Magic is so you could be called (that’s taken too, BTW). Traders do this all the time - instead of Gucci they use Ianucci or something.

When you register a name for a company you need to provide a list of at least three options. The first internationally avaliable will be accepted.

You’d best talk to a corporation lawyer before hand. While the advice given so far isn’t bad, there are a lot of rules and ramifications. For example, if the corporation with the same (or similar) name but different product from yours is part of or owns another corporation of different name but same product they can still claim trademark infringement. Whether or not it really is isn’t relevant; all they need is enough to make it a proper claim to go to court. This takes money that they have (and you probably don’t) to resolve the claim, and even if you win you lose because in most cases you can’t recoup legal fees from this type of case.

And, unfortunately, the courts have ruled that you can trademark a word such as Universal, so your best option is to do something completely different (combine two or more words or names, etc.)

My favorite corporation name: Nocturnal Aviation (A Fly-by-Night Industry).
My second favorite: Smoke and Mirrors Inc.

That’s right, and watch out for catchphrases too. McDonalds have trademarked the phrase “I’m lovin’ it” and I presume KFC have TM’d “finger-lickin’ good”. I personally own the trademark for “you bllshtin’ ss-lickin cck-sckin, shp-shain’ mutha f**a”, so I don’t want to hear anyone else using it, lol :smiley:

Do people think it’s right that words or phrases in the English language should be trademarked/copyright? I doubt we’ll run out of phrases but it’ll end up like personalised number plates, like where someone called Sam Jones eventually ends up with 8a2 mmi and they have to say well, 8 looks like s and you ignore the 2 and then it sounds like sammy.

At first you intend to call a company something really cool but then find it’s been taken and you wittle it down to something really cheesey. I suppose we’re a long way from that yet but as the years go on, it takes ever more amounts of imagination. I was going to have Pixelated Dreams but I think it’s taken. Oh well back to the drawing board.

Does anyone know if there is an online database of registered trademarks so that it’s easy to check if you’re infringing copyright? I kinda just want to see what the daftest thing anyone has TM’d.

just search google. If you do not know how to do… :wink: :stuck_out_tongue:

You could always just come up with your own word or modify the spelling of an existing word to your liking. Look what google does- Froogle.

Its not that hard, especially since you consider major software/gaming/graphics houses/companies do it all the time. Think about Microsoft, Namco, or even Pixar. All of these are just combinations of words, phrases, and spellings. Its not that hard to come up with a name (despite the fact that I still can’t come up with a name).

Google really is a great place to find companies that are registered, but don’t forget that just because a company isn’t on google, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist or hasn’t registered. Thats why its important to make sure you have somebody knowledgeable in this area of law when you start out. This is also why many people instead of starting companies just make portfolios for themselves. It doesn’t have the same ring/flash that saying you own a company has, but it gets the job done.

sorry can’t be arsed reading, most people have probably answered it for you but hey my mum works in the industry and did a comprehensive name search for me before i chose my company name.

basicly trade marks are free game if they are not trade marked in your area.

e.g. a food company called “changs” does not compeat with the software company called “changs” so they can have the same name, (also depends on the country"

to get a trademark in all areas from industrial to food to electronics to service… … . … . . … . list is at least 40 sections long, or more) you need to pay thousands apon thousands of dollars a year. per country

so basicly only large companys can do anything. also a trademarks needs to be defended to be enforced. so you can use any name untill they ask you not to.

(hence don’t F-with big companys)


I know of a few things that have had to change name. Probably the most familiar to everyone is the Firefox browser (the browser formerly known as Phoenix and Firebird).

It infringed on trademark and had to change it. I think that may have happened to the Chimera browser, which is known as Camino now. They’re worldwide applications, though, so unless you’re planning on international status, you might get away with it. But I would think that if you had a website then doesn’t that make you liable? You’re effectively broadcasting your name to the world.

Again, this might anger people as a Google search might make your name appear alongside the registered name. This could be seen as trading off someone else’s name.

Thanks for all the feedback guys.

It’s true that Atari made a console called “Jaguar” but it was often referred to as “The Atari Jagura” which is kind of a phrase I guess.

There must be somewhere where one can refer to a kind of "black list"of names not to use or mimic. There are so many murges and partnerships these days, one company can be the direct or indirect contributer to many various sectors of the market.

I think what I’ll try and do is use some words from the German language to come up with a name. I’ve been living in Germany for about 3 years now and I’ve learned quite a lot. This will atleast lower the chances of getting on the wrong side of an American giant.

Another question though: can a company have no name?

What if my trade mark was a unique image. I know it sounds like a strange idea but I’m really curious to know if it’s possible - this is the digital age afterall.

Keep posting



yeah but it don’t work.

we have a company here in my city called “no name- Building recyclers”

they have done very very well, because “no name” is actually a good name.
their trade mark is “no name”
so really they do have a name



Well I know for sure that Firebird did not, but it had the same name as an open source software(a server component I think), so they(firefox) decided to change to not cause confusion.

yeah my understanding was it was just a respect deal. (in conjunciton with firefox/bird)

one famous example is Burger King in Australia.

note that they were called “Hungry jacks” for at least a decade, and that hungry jacks stores still exist.

why did this happen?

well a hambuger shop had the name Burger King registered in Australia. they would have sold the name to BK once the offer was large enough.