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Brand Naming | Brand Development | Naming Strategy | Trademarks

Rob Cummings knows naming, branding, marketing, copywriting - and more - and was trained by some of the legends in the business. Rob also knows trademarks and how to minimize trademark problems.

Naming Consultant makes safe, smart company naming, product naming, service naming and brand naming work.
(and then our experienced name brand designer brings your brand to life).

By Rob Cummings

Brand naming experience, trademark and industry investigation, and a seasoned mind aware of what causes naming trademark problems results in safest, smartest brand names, product names, service names, and company names.

Trade names (trademarks, Marks, brands) are a company's greatest liability.

With globalization, the Internet, and much greater focus on protecting intellectual property (the most valuable of which is a brand, company, product or service name), naming any company, brand, product or service is trickier than ever before, requiring much deeper thought and much deeper analysis to avoid national and international infringement claims.

Trademark infringement claims are routinely brought against numerous companies of all sizes. Though trademark infringement rarely makes the News, a single trademark infringement claim can devastate any business, even if the business wins the case and therefore the right to continue to use its own name.

Many trademark infringement matters are resolved confidentially, so they're never seen.

The reason the trademark infringement claims are kept confidential is because they would be damaging to the companies involved if known to the public. At minimum, publicity of a trademark infringement claim (which often becomes a Federal Law Suit)  would erode the public's confidence in the infringing company and therefore many are resolved with confidential settlement agreements.

Brand managers, brand owners, and brand and naming consultants' clients turn to me for in-process and post selection confirmation of brand, product, service and company names for analysis from many perspectives.

Today there's a new and absolutely required component to naming and branding that must be more seriously considered than ever before to avoid risking loss of your name.

Getting expert advice from a seasoned branding professional, preferably with trademark experience (that's me), seems as if it should be at the top of the list.

Losing your brand name often means losing it all.

Any cease and desist letter, opposition, cancellation (also known as a Petition to Cancel or Petition for Cancellation) is the start of a lengthy and costly legal battle where you either keep your brand name, or are forced to abandon it.

If you are forced to abandon your brand name, typically you also must destroy or discard all goods and materials with your brand name on them, the idea being your goods and materials, infringing upon another, were and continue to be 'illegitimate' and damaging to the party claiming infringement.

The most common oppositions are based upon likelihood of confusion between names.

With the Internet and its inherent worldwide scope, any brand today (with or without a web Site, and local, regional, or multinational), is far more visible to world scrutiny.

The increased visibility of trademarks results in increased trademark problems, and, as a rule, the more famous the trademark becomes, the more trademark problems result.

Though not an attorney, Rob's life experience and methodologies help avoid modern trademark problems that can quickly lead to brand disaster.

With globalization and worldwide exposure the Internet provides, branding, product and service naming and packaging, must be more thoroughly considered than ever before.

Visit the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board web Site http://ttabvue.uspto.gov/ttabvue/ and you can search and see if brands in your industry are facing trademark problems.

In the 21st Century, Rob says "it's not creative unless it's safe" and based on life experience including resolving his own trademark problems, Rob helps others.

In order to have a strong visual brand, it's important to have an experienced, creative package design company on your side. Lien Design has been developing brands since 1997. Based in San Diego, California, they develop strategic packaging and label design with the main goal of SELLING YOUR PRODUCT. Lien Design has a streamlined design process to ensure you get a quality, premium package design that will pop next to the competition. Visit Lien Design's portfolio today to see how they can take your label design to the next level.

Learn more about safer, smarter naming -and how to create and analyze a brand name.


Payment works just like a doctor visit >>

Have a trademark problem? Click here
Need help applying for a trademark?
Click here

Safe branding and brand naming must be Step One.

With or without a brand consultant, intellectual property law firm, attorney,
or IP counsel, and startup or multinational, Rob helps
avoid trademark problems,
resolve trademark issues, and keep them from happening in the first place.

Business plans
that Rob reviews, helps develop and refine, include marketing plans, channels of distribution, packaging and promotion, company and product or service naming, and all the elements of what brands and trademarks are all about.

These elements of a business plan are the principles of infringement disputes (oppositions and cancellations).

100's of brand names are opposed all the time, millions** spent, just to keep the brand name - and no damages awarded to cover costs.

Many trademarks are abandoned - though many others, opposed when the business is successful, must be fought.

* By legal doctrine, brand owners must oppose and cancel the names of others - if those names are 'similar' in any way - and some unexpected ways.

**A trademark opposition or cancellation can average $100,000, while many cases far exceed that cost into the $millions.

You can plan for and avoid potential brand problems, trademark problems, trademark examiner refusal, opposition, and cancellation, yet you need to know what Rob knows to know what to look for and consider to be safe from the start.


Your name, the foundation, is either safe or not.
(most are not safe, especially now that the Internet creates greater international awareness)

Strong names, strong name brands, built to last.

Created by the world's leading brand development design firms, these marks are examples of how a great name and treatment combines to create a timeless brand.

These brand identities took the same type of serious consideration and thought that Cummings puts into everything we do.

The marks above are ideal pieces of type that have been very carefully conceived. Numerous goals and objectives have been distilled to their very essence.

In addition, a great deal of thought was placed on the name - and should be since the more famous a brand becomes, the greater the liabilities.

Where you may have thought that all you needed was a logo, there is much more to developing a name and logo that will not cause trademark problems (whether or not you plan to register a mark), and choosing a name, look, feel, and positioning that will become an asset to your business (rather than a liability).

Your name, the foundation of your business, can be an asset or a liability.

Learn more about our brand naming development services >>

Today, Cummings Design spends more time helping companies save their names.

A logo might be a unique piece of type based on the name, or a unique piece of type combined with a symbol. In trademark terms, a logo is considered a mark.

Corporate Identity (Corporate ID) systems, Branding, Brand Creation, Brand Identity and Brand Development are all things companies do based on a logo.

Brand creation and brand development involve knowledge of many disciplines and media, which is why people turn to Cummings Design.

Have a trademark problem? Click here
Need help applying for a trademark? Click here

*The wrong choice - company or product name - can result in real disaster.

Rob Cummings helps insure your company and product name is built on a strong foundation.

One legal issue can cost hundreds of thousands to defend, and destroy everything you build now and in the future.

It rarely makes the News, though most are shocked to find how many trademark oppositions and Petitions to Cancel are filed each year - what they mean to a company - startup or highly successful and in business for years - and the effect a trademark opposition or petition for cancellation shall have.

A trademark opposition or petition to cancel is a law suit to make you stop using your name - forever.

Can someone stop you from using your name? Absolutely.

Learn more about the risk of having a trademark problem >>

Whether or not you plan to make application to register your trademark (product, service or brand name), others can legally oppose it - and win - now, or years from now, and the more successful you are, the greater the chances.

Aside from numerous other factors we consider, our primary concern is helping to avoid a trademark opposition or other legal problem relating to your:

  • company name

  • product name

  • service name

  • mark (and how the mark is used)

  • packaging (and trade dress)

The creative side, after your brand is safe and sound.

Based in Orange County Southern California, we help create and develop brands and business plans worldwide - effectively working with others via email (and very little phone) in Australia, Ireland, England, the US, and elsewhere.

Rob Cummings is a professional and experienced brand designer and consultant providing brand consulting and advice. He can also design the brand identity (logo) for you - or help you assess and choose the best design based on objective, goal-specific criteria.

Few graphic designers who design logos are actually serious brand consultants.

Take a look at the many considerations Cummings Design will help you take into account in naming or see some of our brand logos.

Some logos incorporate a symbol (though it costs far more to make this work).

Most consumers will instantly recognize the companies behind the icons above, however, a symbol or icon requires a great deal of marketing, promotion and advertising in order to develop consumer recognition. A symbol may not always be necessary or preferred. Nike, CBS, NBC, the Bell System, and Chanel spent countless dollars to get most consumers to recognize these most of the time.

One thing about the school of experience is that it will repeat the lesson if you flunk the first time. Author Unknown

Branding is the result of the combination of all elements that create the brand, brand perception, and brand awareness.

Branding is much more than creating a logo or determining a name, though these are the foundation, and serious consideration should be given to naming and all that relates to developing the name.

Creating a name (and then a logo that becomes a brand or a product line within a brand) involves graphic design, marketing, psychology, research, analysis, strategy, an understanding of how people relate to products or services and brands, an understanding of language, and an understanding of your market and industry, plus knowledge and experience in all media.

On a basic level (yet one many overlook), a brand developer must understand how the logo or mark will print and appear in all media - on packaging, signs, brochures, web Sites, sell sheets, and possibly trucks, planes, television commercials and every other item it may be applied to. Each of these applications involve different printing processes, and each must be considered so that the mark, when applied, will appear in the same color and be readable and be cost-effective to apply.

On a more advanced level, numerous other factors need to be considered in brand creation and development.

Corporate Identity and branding is a specialized form of graphic design, and is what makes companies appear large, stable, efficient, reliable.

Pop up a quick Tour (if you haven't already) to see some of our logos. A logo is the starting point for brand creation and brand development.

If you need help with company naming, brand naming, product or service naming, click here.

Federal Express is a good example of corporate identity and branding.
The consistent design look and feel in Fed Ex planes, trucks, storefronts, facilities, employee uniforms, envelopes, boxes, waybills, and all other designed elements, is what gives you the perception that Fed Ex is highly organized, reliable, and the service is valuable.

Why do people choose Fed Ex? In great part due to the reliable, efficient, stable look of everything Fed Ex shows the public.

Reliable, professional appearance is just as important as reliable service - especially when trying to grow your business. Corporate Identity programs, done well, with high level graphic design, create the appearance of reliability.

Professional corporate identity and branding programs save money.

A brand designer can develop corporate identity and branding design solutions that translate in multiple media - stationery, business cards, envelopes, mailers, signs, trucks, packaging, video, the Internet, and more - to develop a consistent look and feel - and save a great deal of money.

By eliminating unnecessary duplication, through economies of scale, by developing a Graphic Standards Manual, and through careful planning, corporate identity and branding programs save incredible amounts of money and time.

One of the first assignments Rob Cummings completed in his career was for Addressograph-Multigraph, a client of Muir, Cornelius, Moore (a NYC design firm now part of the Interpublic Group).

Addressograph-Multigraph earned its worldwide reputation as a provider of printing equipment and supplies. What it lacked was corporate identity.

In 1977, Addressograph had numerous divisions around the globe, each under the guidance of their own graphic designers. The result was a disjointed look, incredible duplication of materials and cost, and no real Corporate Identity or Branding. Each division appeared to be a different company.

The first step - analysis.
To analyze the situation all the existing items were brought together - photos of facilities, trucks, uniforms, signs, packaging. Printed pieces including stationery, forms, brochures, catalogs. We found variations of the same form (and were able to design and print just one).

The second step - review.
Addressograph-Multigraph was too hard to spell - and too long - so the decision was made to rename it 'AM International'. Hundreds of potential logo designs were created, refined and discussed. One was selected that met the criteria.

The logo had many applications so two variations were developed:

For tall applications.

For wide applications.

And a corporate color was selected that could be duplicated around the world in any media - printed, video, silk screen:

Step three - applications, and development of graphic standards.
To insure that all that create graphic design for any of AM's divisions can follow the same standards, a Graphic Standards Manual was created. In 1979 it was printed in book form. Today it would be on-line for fast, easy distribution.

A 'Graphic Standards Manual' shows every possible application and provides the logos in all of the various formats for all types of reproduction.

Font, color designation, size, layout, and all other details are spelled out.

With a 'Graphic Standards Manual' anyone, anywhere can create graphic design for any division - and for any application required:

  • trucks

  • building signs

  • forms

  • stationery

  • uniforms

  • ads

  • brochures

  • sell sheets

  • billboards

Once the Graphic Standards are developed, the cost of producing these items is dramatically reduced - forever.

In 1977, Rob Cummings created the graphics for the Norwegian Caribbean Line cruise ship, the SS Norway (formerly the SS France).

In the SS Norway project, Rob developed:

  • all directional and decks signage

  • deck maps

  • bar logos

  • restaurant logos

  • nightclub logos

  • shop logos

  • overall look and feel

Rob Cummings knows naming, branding, trademark, marketing, copywriting and more.

If you're serious, committed, and have a realistic budget, Rob Cummings can help advise in every aspect of brand development - for greater success, and even more important, risk reduction in liabilities that most fail to consider.

Have a trademark problem? Click here
Need help applying for a trademark? Click here

Links of interest:

  • Brand, product, company, service naming >>

  • Portfolio overview and links to services and samples >>

  • Trademarks >>

  • Press >>

Brand Managers, see how a UPC product bar code can send people direct to any web page you choose. Learn more.

Contact Rob for details.

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Thank you for visiting, hope this helps.


/rob cummings/



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