When I am reading about a computer science professor and discover he has found a way for software to be much smarter at power management, I am not surprised. The fact he calls his company Miserware I think is a natural and applicable name and move on. Then I discover he calls the PC version Granola and I am pulled up fast. Did I hear right?
A break through free software program that is saving the world a lot of electricity and it is called Granola? I can hear the jingle now: “Granola isn’t just for breakfast anymore.” But since a very reputable magazine, BusinessWeek, first alerted me to this name and called it a brandname, I believed it to be real. And once I looked it up on miserware.com which flipped me over to grano.la (yes a website using the Laos country domain, not LA city.. at least not yet) the plot grew deeper. I am sure there is a play on the name somehow, perhaps from granularity. While I am just guessing here I do think that is more likely than someone looking at his breakfast dish or lunch box and going Aha!
And since Businessweek called it a brandname, I had to check and see if it was a registered trademark. Well this turned into a quick lesson on how hard it can be to look up certain names on the USPTO.gov website if you don’t know what you are doing. The first trademark search box I got to, I typed in granola of course.. and got 3076 hits to be precise! Wow. Backup.. let us rather narrow search to a name or partial name in the software category (9) and see what happens. I find an expired trademark for Granola Disk, and nothing else.
Oh well, with such an unusual name and prolific download rate, I suppose no one is going to copy your unique product name, so why pay the small trademark registration fee? Certainly in the food category it is a generic word and therefore not trademarkable, but in software it is unique and I really wanted to properly credit it with the Circle R brand – ®.
P.S. Also a great example of how a product name logo does not have to be boring.