Trademarking your business name is one of the most important steps you can take as a business owner.
It ensures your brand and logo are protected from competition and helps you avoid costly lawsuits in the future. Trademarking your name can also prevent others from stealing it, especially if you’re running an online store or other types of business with a digital presence.
In this article, you’ll learn how to trademark your business name.
What is a trademark?
A trademark is any word, phrase, symbol, design, or combination of these that determines and differentiates the source of products of one organization from those of others. A service mark is the same as a trademark, except it distinguishes the root source of a service rather than products. In short: trademarks are used to identify products, and service marks are used to identify services.
Why you need to trademark your business name
When you buy a business name, you not only become the owner of that name but also become the brand owner. As a result, potential competitors must get your permission before using that name in their marketing strategies. If they use it without your consent, they could be infringing on your rights as an owner and causing significant problems for your company.
In addition to protecting yourself against other companies who want to use your brand, trademarking also protects the intellectual property behind the words used in a business name. This protection is especially needed if those words affect how customers recognise or identify your products or services.
Trademarking your business name means you have exclusive ownership of what makes up your company identity and any associated trademarks associated with those terms. You can sue a company using your trademarked business name since you have the right.
Steps to trademark your business name
Your business name may be a catchy acronym. Perhaps, a favourite song or movie may have inspired it. Or, it could be just something that popped into your head.
Whatever the origin, don’t let that name out of your sight. You can trademark it by consulting expert services such as Trademark Engine or do it yourself. If you’re doing it yourself, here are the steps to trademark your business name:
Decide If You Need A Trademark
Before you apply for a trademark, it’s essential to understand the difference between protecting your brand and benefiting from the recognition of having one. If you want to achieve the latter, a trademark may not be the only thing you need. If you want to protect your business name from being used by competitors or companies, then this would help you.
You may also be wondering whether or not filing for trademark protection makes sense for businesses that operate in multiple locations or countries around the world. In general, trademarks are territorial and apply only within certain boundaries — regional or international in scope.
So if your business operates across state lines in two separate states (or in two distinct countries), file each for application. Understanding this will inform your decision.
Search For Existing Trademarks
The next thing you must do after deciding is to scour the Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS). This system contains information on all trademarks and pending applications. Besides, there’s such a system in almost every country. You can use TESS to see whether your business name has already been registered; you can search by word, design, and colour.
If you find an existing trademark that matches your name, check whether or not this trademark is used as a service mark or if it’s used as part of a product’s brand name. You may need to change your plan based on the type of mark involved.
For example, if you want to start selling ‘customised products’ but there’s already an existing trademark for this term, you will have to think of other names. This process could be challenging, but it is worth doing so to avoid any lawsuits or issues in the future.
Prepare An Application
Once you’ve researched and decided on a business name, it’s time to apply for a trademark. Your first step is to fill out the application form and pay for applicable fees.
Now that you have an application, you must provide proof of ownership by submitting documents showing how long you’ve used the mark in commerce. It can include anything from invoices or contracts with customers who purchased products with your name on them or photos of signage with your business name displayed prominently on storefronts.
You’ll also need to describe what makes this particular mark unique from other marks used by other businesses offering similar products or services. This information should identify apparent distinctions and subtler differences between two similar names that consumers may not notice at first glance but are nonetheless important.
File The Application
After preparation, it’s time to apply. You must file a trademark application in the correct jurisdiction, which can be done online or through a paper form. In the US, the filing fee is often below USD$200 for most applications. Once your application has been accepted, you’ll need to submit a specimen of your mark and pay another fee.
You also need to submit two copies of an acceptable filing receipt and declaration under penalty of perjury which explains why no one else has registered this mark before (and whether it was ever used). If someone else has already registered the same name for similar goods/services in another country, the registration should be submitted along with any amendments made since its initial filing date (if applicable).
Hire Trademark Agencies
If everything else fails, you should consult a trademark agency. However, hiring a trademark agency or attorney to help you file your trademark application isn’t free. So, ensure that the service you choose has the experience and expertise necessary to handle all aspects of the process. As with selecting any business professional, it’s crucial for you to feel comfortable with the person representing yourself and your company.
A trademark can help protect your business name, logo, and other brand elements from exploitation by others. It’s a good idea to trademark your business name before you start using it as a source identifier. If you’re unsure whether or not you need a trademark, consider consulting with an attorney specialising in trademarks. Trademark attorneys can help guide you through the trademark registration process to protect your brand identity.
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