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We are thinking on product name for our niche software product targeting users of big corporation technology with "PRODUCT™" name (sorry it is obfuscated for now). As we don't compete with this company PRODUCT™ (the corporation has similar software to ours but free of charge (there are other solutions as well) and, it seem for the past 4 years, it is not very interested in developing this software; the main corporation service is far-far away from what we are doing as well). Our software makes the work with big corporation PRODUCT™ easier and more enjoying. Actually it is "the Builder tool for the Product" or "Product Builder tool" which is quite standard designation for such software. So one of the best strategy in terms of recognizability and SEO could be to name our software ProductBuilder or something like that.

In addition it seems like the big corporation cannot register PRODUCT™ as trade mark because another great company in almost the same market has acquired several years ago Product Ltd. and use its name ("Product") for its "Professional Duct" technology. Ok, they are both about software and services :)

The third aspect to consider "PRODUCT™" is a common english noun.

So the question is what strategy to choose and how safe they could be:

  • Use ProductBuilder name?
  • Register ProductBuilder domain and use it for SEO but choose different name for the product?

Update: After @jqning comment. There is legion of the products named the same way. For example some huge fraction of Microsoft Word related utilities (and competing products) have "Word" inside their name (Atlantis Word Processor, Easy PDF to Word Converter, Avery Wizard for Microsoft Office Word 2003, Free Word Excel and Password Recovery Wizard, Recovery for Word and many many more just made a search on cnet). The same is true for Excel or Acrobat and Flash and many other products.

  • Do you have ANY examples of this EVER being done before? Regardless of industry or market? I guarantee you that you are not the first person to do this and examples will abound. Show some of those and perhaps we can comment on why they work. As I understand it: Castle™ is software that consumers can use to layout floorplans for their house. Castle is also the name of a sub-division on a large building materials and supply company; the subdivision caters to consumers. You want to call your product CastleBuilder? Have you read anything about initial interest confusion? – jqning Aug 13 '15 at 14:55
  • Meant to include: you product CastleBuilder provides modules or packages that consumers can use with the Castle™ product. – jqning Aug 13 '15 at 15:10
  • No. It is not safe. It isn't necessarily impossible but it is not safe and not a good idea. – ohwilleke Mar 30 '18 at 3:25
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It is hard to say if you are infringing their trademark or not.

There is an easy way to find out: launch your product, if it becomes successful they will sue you, you can then either hand over your profits to them or spend most of them defending yourself; if you loose your company will probably be broke. That's the risk; decide if it's worth it.

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If you want to, you could contact the company's marketing manager, inform him of your intentions, and explain that maybe more people would buy their product if yours makes it easier to use. If he agrees, Your lawyers can then draw up an agreement ensuring they won't sue you. (Of course, if he doesn't agree, you're probably worse off than when you started.)

I suggest it's better to get the lawyers involved only when the business people have an agreement in principle; it's much too easy for the deal to be ruined otherwise.

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    Only the most inept companies would agree to share their trademark like this. If your product ends up being a steaming pile of crap, you've now tainted their brand. They would have given up their way of distancing themselves from it. – cHao Mar 30 '18 at 16:25

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