Having a unique name can also become a financial asset to the company if it is sold, licensed or expanded, says Erik Pelton, a trademark lawyer in Falls Church, Va., emphasizing the need for small-business owners to register a company name with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. "A very creative, a very unique name is an asset to the business -- not just in how people find it and remember it, but actually a tangible asset that has a value," Pelton says. Protecting the name also limits a growing company's susceptibility to copycats.
"You're in a much better position to deal with it quickly and more affordably if you have a registration. It's not terribly expensive -- the government filing fee is about $300" and the process takes about a year from start to finish, Pelton says. "If you have a really unique name, those are the easiest to register. You're least likely to encounter a conflict in the application process." TheStreet talked to four companies that wouldn't have had as much success without their unusual names.