Trademark Screening

Although strategic alignment and creative vitality are key to name development, at the end of the day, names must be available for use. Catchword’s expert preliminary search process ensures the greatest chance of success when name candidates undergo full trademark search. After all, there’s only one thing worse than finding out that the name you just fell in love with means “Your sister is a bag of hammers” in Samoan. And that’s finding out that it doesn’t—but you can’t legally own it.

Before recommending names, our search team screens them in the appropriate combination of USPTO, Google, and country and industry-specific databases—determined in discussion with your corporate counsel. (If you don’t have a good trademark attorney, we’re happy to recommend one.) If domain availability is required, we’ll also screen for .com availability and provide an opinion on purchasability.

Our extensive research allows us to present names that are much more likely to clear your counsel’s full trademark search. It also weeds out names that, while not legally infringing, raise marketing concerns because they might recall a competitor’s name (or a porn site, or a startup that went down in flames). Think of our trademark team as your attorney’s new BFF.

How to Trademark a Company or Product Name.


Dip name review from CatchwordKroger is known for groceries, operating 2,800 retail stores under a variety of names. Food accounts for 94% of their total sales. Yet some of their stores, like Fred Meyer and Kroger Marketplace, offer non-grocery items as well, including apparel. Until now, these private labels haven’t been unified. But this week 300 of these stores will start carrying Kroger’s new exclusive clothing line, which they’ve named Dip.

Dip has a ton of meanings, most of which are a good fit for this brand. It brings to mind a tasty accessory, easy and casual, fun, festive. It proudly embraces Kroger’s status as a grocery giant. Kroger described Dip apparel as “simple, fresh and goes great with everything.”

With most of the pieces priced under $20, this is fashion you can “dip into” when you feel like it. Store signage further suggests the brand has a flavor for every palate: you can dip into style or action or cuddles or “awwww.” 

It’s immersive, brief but satisfying – a quick dip in the pool makes everyone feel better. And there’s more: price dip, skinny dipping, dip your partner in dancing, slang for leave abruptly, even diploma. All good.

However, dip has a few negative associations that can’t be ignored. Dippy, dipsh*t, dip stick, dip tobacco. For some of us Gen Xers, the connection with stupidity is pretty tight when the word is presented on its own. At least one marketing expert believes this negative connotation is a big mark against Dip.

Dip name review from CatchwordBut brand names don’t exist in a vacuum. Visual ID, tagline, packaging, and of course the product line itself contextualize and define the name. In 2010, the new iPad was lampooned for the name’s feminine product association, despite the word’s other relevant meanings. No one makes those connections now.

Dip is fun, memorable, and expresses many spot-on-brand messages. The stupidity connection will hang some folks up a bit at first, but the word’s positive meanings, supported by the brand’s positioning and marketing more than make up for that. I’ve already moved beyond it, and I haven’t even been in a store.

Ultimately, a small minority of Kroger customers may forever think of dipsh*t when they hear “Dip.” But if they see a cute sweater for $19, will the Dip label stop them from throwing it in the cart along with the cookies and cabernet?

The stupidity connection will hang some folks up a bit at first, but the word’s positive meanings, supported by the brand’s positioning and marketing as more than make up for that.