Cognate's Trademark Blog

Novel Names: Local Business Spotlight- Knight Moves Cafe

You know when you walk down the street and you pass a business with a great name and you think to yourself, “Wow, how did someone come up with something so clever?”

I recently had this experience when I was walking down Beacon Street in Brookline and spotted a cozy café called Knight Moves. Why is Knight Moves a clever name for a café? After all, it has nothing to do with coffee, coffee beans, or even tea! But Knight Moves isn’t your run of the mill café; it’s a board game café.

Devon Trevelyan, the owner of the café, understood the importance choosing an attention-grabbing name for his brand when designing his café, and didn’t come up with the name overnight.

A lot of thought goes into creating a name like Knight Moves- it’s a triple entendre, and it might take on a different meaning to each person who encounters it. If you have a background in music like Trevelyan does, you might automatically start singing Bob Seger’s song “Night Moves” in your head (or aloud, depending on how confident you are).

If music isn’t your forte, you might think of a knight performing his valiant duty in the middle ages, which is the second facet of the “knight” entendre; a knight performing its valiant duty on the chessboard.

“When I was creating the name I chose the word ‘knight’ because I am a chess teacher, and chess is one of the many games you can find in the café,” said Trevelyan.

The third aspect of the triple “knight” entendre is that the café is open late into the night. Brookline is a family-oriented neighborhood peppered with college students, recent grads, and those drawn to the Coolidge Corner Theater and the abundance of restaurants. Trevelyan says “Knight Moves is about quality, not about quantity. It’s somewhere people can come to spend time with friends. We aren’t looking for a high turnover rate; we want people to stay for hours and have a good time.” This isn’t just talk, the café is open as late as 2AM on weekend nights.

When inventing the name, Devon was very aware of the implications his name would have on the brand of his café. He was cognizant of the fact that the name “Knight Moves” might make the business seem like it’s just a chess shop. But believe me, with about 1,000 board games on hand at the Cafe, your options are definitely not limited to just chess. With this concern in mind, Trevelyan designed the Knight Moves logo with dice, a gear, and some bolts, to portray the variety of games and to give the café an older, vintage feeling. The antique furniture and the dearth of TVs allow you to enter a space where you can escape Coolidge Corner, play games with your friends, and step into a different world, which customers have been doing happily since Knight Moves first opened its doors in December of 2013.

For those of you keeping score at home, this would be the date of first use of the Knight Moves trademark. Like most local businesses, Knight Moves has not registered its name with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, meaning that Knight Moves is what is called a common law trademark.  Trademark rights can be locked in place by getting a federal registration, but can also be earned simply by using a mark, even without federal or state registration.

You can get board games anywhere. But Knight Moves offers you a space to join a community of people to do something fun together, even if you’re not a Bob Seger fan.

Stay tuned for more stories featuring local businesses with great names like Knight Moves. If you also gave a lot of thought to your business name, be sure to register with Cognate.

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