I went for my three month scan last week. It has now got me started on “the naming game”. Will the name go with the name of our first child? Will the initials spell anything rude? So many things to consider!
My husband hates it when I play “the naming game”. It usually involves me randomly shouting out a name whenever a good one pops into my mind – which means that he can guarantee regular interruptions to watching TV in the evening, or trying to go to bed.
But getting the right name is important. I certainly learned this lesson the difficult way…This brings me on to Buttercup Bus – my VW Camper hire business. We didn’t always have this name. The business name used to incorporate the colour of my first campervan (vanilla). I had checked Companies House, the Trademark register and local websites – and believed that I had picked a unique name for the company and web domain… I just wish that I had been more thorough with my website search. Sure enough, a year after I had established my brand, built my web presence, invested in stationary and generally got the ball rolling, I received a stern email from a competitor, “encouraging” me to change my trading name.
Now, this posed an interesting question – should I change my name, or stick to my guns? Both companies sounded similar in name, but were not identical. The other company had not registered their trading name, just like me. They did however argue that I was guilty of “Passing Off”, whether intentionally, or not. Passing Off basically means that you are generating business whilst piggybacking off another person’s brand.
Legal fees can be expensive, as it can be difficult to prove the three criteria required:
a) established goodwill
b) actual misrepresentation
c) damage (either for lost business or loss of distinctiveness)
Lots of advisers suggested that I should keep my name… but I was losing sleep over it. The other company were happy to take this down the legal route, and they had been established for a lot longer than me.
I was worried about investing more money and time in marketing, when I may have to rebrand further down the line. I also did not have the funding for a protracted and expensive court case.
In the end, I changed my name – but I think that our new name (Buttercup Bus) is pretty good!
It was my poor husband that suffered through most of this though. He had to put up with “The Naming Game” for our first child, then the trading name of my business, then the rebranded name, and now for our next child! He insists that we should call the baby Mungo?!?… for the time being though, the bump is called Pumpkin!