The show Shark Tank involves business startups looking to pair with some of the top US investors. One problem the show skirts around is the registration of a trademark. Some entrepreneurs come up with very creative names, however, failed to secure their brand via a trademark registration or failed to ensure the name was available with a trademark search. This causes rebranding issues, which can be crippling.
How much time and money would it cost to change your business name? What about your domain name, your Facebook page, your Twitter page, your Instagram account, redesigning your website, pulling your products from distribution, updating your business information, destroying your old merchandise, purchasing new merchandise, notifying all your retailers of the name change, and rebranding yourself under a new name? While this is just a short list of some of the actions you’ll have to take, it does not outline or mention the most important loss, time and money. It’s important to protect your trademark as soon as possible, even as early as conception of the name. A little money now invested in a trademark search or an intent to use trademark application can save you a lot of money down the road.
Shark Tank Trademark Rebranding Examples
A number of entrepreneurs that appeared on the show owned whimsical or creative names that they fell in love with from the start. The only issue was that the names were already owned.
- RYAN’S BARKERY, season 4, episode 26 – healthy dog treats
- RYAN’S BARKERY filed for trademark registration on December 3, 2012. It was rejected based on confusing similarity to BARKERY, for “edible pet treats,” and RYAN’S PET SUPPLIES, for “retail store and online retail store services featuring pet supplies.” It was rejected based on the confusing similarity to the already registered marks, BARKERY, for “edible pet treats,” and RYAN’S PET SUPPLIES, for “retail store and online retail store services featuring pet supplies.”
- The business was renamed, “Ry’s Ruffery.” Trademark registration for RY’S RUFFERY obtained March 17, 2015.
- REMYXX REKIXX, season 3, episode 15 – completely recyclable shoes
- REMYXX filed for trademark registration on September 10, 2011. It was rejected based on confusing similarity to the already registered mark, REMIX for “clothing, namely, jeans, pants, shorts, jackets, shirts, t-shirts, and shoes.”
- The business was renamed, “Rekixx.” Trademark registration for REKIXX obtained May 20, 2014.
- THE MIX BIKINI EXPERIENCE, season 3, episode 14 – mix and match bikinis
- THE MIX BIKINI EXPERIENCE filed for trademark registration on September 9, 2011, and acquired registration on July 24, 2012 with one catch, they had to disclaim the terms “mix bikini.” A disclaimer is a statement made in your application that indicates you do not claim exclusive right to use a specified element(s) of your mark. Thus, they weren’t claiming the main name within the mark.
- Among other reasons, the business was renamed to “Versakini.” Trademark registration for VERSAKINI approved via Notice of Allowance on June 9, 2015.
How do I Prevent Having to Rebrand My Trademark?
Simple. Acquire a trademark registration. You can even secure the right to the name prior to using the brand via an intent to use trademark application. You won’t own the registration if you file this intent to use application, but you will own the right to acquire the registration via a Notice of Allowance from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).