Can you trademark a made up word?

Made-up words are usually considered to be very strong and protectable trademarks, as the words will have no meaning or context outside of branding or marketing your product or service.

This information was provided by our founding attorney, Xavier Morales, Esq. 

If a word is first used to present a specific product or service to consumers, it will generate a stronger association with the product or service. Trademarking a made-up word will not protect your made-up word from entering into everyday use, nor will it prevent speakers and writers from using the word in a way other than intended. For example, “googling” has become a very common verb that refers to searching for information via Internet search engines.

If you decide to trademark a made-up word, then you should have a thorough trademark search performed to ensure that there are no other prior-filed trademarks for similar made-up words. It is also advisable to have the made-up word evaluated by a trademark attorney in order to ascertain the strength of the particular trademark. We recommend that you contact us today, as it's best to involve a trademark attorney as early as possible in the trademarking process.

Examples of these Trademarks

Several made-up words have become ubiquitous in modern language and were successfully trademarked.


Kodak logo

The Eastman Kodak Company was founded in 1888, and eventually rose to become the dominant provider of cameras film.

At one point, the company was responsible for 90% of film sales, and 85% of camera sales (Source). Despite those staggering numbers, the shift to digital photography eventually drove the company into bankruptcy.

The word "Kodak" was first registered as a trademark in 1888. There has been some fanciful speculation, from time to time, on how the name was originated. But the plain truth is that Eastman invented it out of thin air.

He explained: "I devised the name myself. The letter 'K' had been a favorite with me -- it seems a strong, incisive sort of letter. It became a question of trying out a great number of combinations of letters that made words starting and ending with 'K.' The word 'Kodak' is the result." Eastman also selected Kodak's distinctive yellow trade dress, which is widely known throughout the world. (Source)


Google logo

Although based on the mathematics term "googol", Google is a made-up word by the search engine giant.

Page and Brin originally nicknamed their new search engine "BackRub", because the system checked backlinks to estimate the importance of a site. Eventually, they changed the name to Google; the name of the search engine originated from a misspelling of the word "googol", the number 1 followed by 100 zeros, which was picked to signify that the search engine was intended to provide large quantities of information. (Source)

The "Google" trademark was originally filed on September 16, 1998.

How We Can Work Together

The Steps to Getting a Trademark on a Made-up Word

Step 1: Perform A Comprehensive Search

We will conduct a thorough trademark search to ensure your desired mark doesn’t closely resemble existing registered trademarks. Seeking an attorney's help can aid in identifying both exact matches and "confusingly similar" marks, as they have access to various databases and can discern subtle distinctions.

Step 2: File the Trademark Application

After due diligence, we file a trademark application through the Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS) or its alternative, TEAS Plus. The choice between these two can impact costs and requirements; we'll provide guidance on this decision and help navigate the complexities.

Step 3: Monitor Your Application

Once the application is submitted, expect a waiting period of 4 to 6 months for feedback from the USPTO. While the initial response might be an approval, there's a possibility of receiving an Office Action or denial, but amendments can typically be made and refiled.

Step 4: Finalize Your Registration

Upon application approval, the trademark will be published in the Trademark Official Gazette for 30 days, allowing potential opposition from other companies. If opposed, the case might proceed to the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB). If unopposed, a certificate of registration will be issued, but ongoing maintenance is essential to preserve trademark rights.

Xavier Morales, Esq.

About the Author

Xavier Morales, Esq.

Mr. Morales founded his trademark law practice in January 2007 with the goal of providing intellectual property expertise to entrepreneurs and businesses around the country. Since then, he has filed more than 6,000 trademarks with the USPTO. You can learn more about Xavier here.

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