Part of starting a small business is choosing the right name. Your business name should properly represent your business, not just what products or services you sell, but also what your company is about.
Your name is important. That’s why it is important to protect it. Registering your business name is easy and can be done on your own. However, what about trademarking your name?
In some instances, it is best to apply for a trademark instead of just registering your name. Keep reading to learn how to trademark a name, what trademarking your name means, and the difference between trademarking and registering your business name.
What Is a Trademark?
A trademark is a word, phrase, or symbol that distinguishes one entity from another. Examples of trademarks are business names, logos, product names, and labels.
Not all trademarks have to be registered. Common law trademarks can be used based solely on the use of the mark in commerce. You can identify a common law trademark with the symbol TM.
However, there are advantages to federally registering the mark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).
Advantages of Registering a Trademark:
While it is possible to possess a common law trademark, you’re really only able to enforce the trademark in your geographical location. Meaning, someone a few hundred miles away could use your same trademark and you would be hard-pressed to win a legal battle.
By registering with the USPTO you gain exclusive rights to use your trademark across the nation. This will increase your chances of being trademarked in other countries should you choose to expand internationally. Since worldwide trademarks deal more with international business it is best to learn more about international business practices.
Furthermore, it prevents unauthorized use and gives you the sole ability to use, sell, or license your trademark without interference from others, or losing your trademark due to your competition.
How to Trademark a Name:
The first step is to research whether your company name is available within your current state or not. From there it is necessary to head over to the USPTO in order to determine if your name has been registered with them already or not.
Be sure the mark you wish to register is not close to another registered trademark. by either rhyming, a misspelling, or a shorter version. Try to be as unique as possible.
It can cost around $300 to register a trademark online. Once you’ve filled out the application it should take around 6 months to hear back from the USPTO.
Also Read: When Is the Right Time to Register Your Brand?
The best way to protect your company logos, images, and name is to register for the trademark with the USPTO. This will protect your marks across the country and make it easier to trademark internationally upon expansion and growth.
Simply registering your business name is not enough if you wish to be truly protected. If you have other questions about how to trademark a name or business-related inquiries contact us today!
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