You should always trademark your business name. At least, the name you use for your business. The name everyone knows. The name people recognize you by.
Nobody wants their idea stolen. Nobody wants their thoughts taken from them before they can get good traction out of it. Everyone is afraid that someone bigger, more well-known, with more resources may come along and take what you have created. So, here is my answer to the question I get from many new entrepreneurs:
Should I Trademark My Business Name?
When you are just getting started, you want to know what the best way to protect your idea and your business name. Here are a few tips on trademarking your business name:
How do I Trademark my Business Name?
You already have! Of course, this is a technical answer and not the answer to the question that is actually being asked, but it is an important place to start. You see, if you are using a name for your business in commerce (whether or not you have formed an entity), you have a TRADEMARK.
How Can I Trademark My Business Name?
There are different levels of trademark protection and there are several things you can do to protect your trademark. Remember, you already have one, the question is: how do you protect it?
Is My Trademark the Same as My Business Name?
Your trademark is how people know products come from you. It can help (as a preliminary step) to make your legal name the same as your trademark, but that is not a requirement.
What is My Trademark?
Before you can protect your trademark, you need to understand exactly what it is you are claiming as your trademark. Is it your logo or your business name? Or both?
What Symbols Can I Use for My Trademark?
The first step to protecting your trademark is to make sure to let people know. You don’t have to register anything to use a symbol for your trademark (as long as you use the right one).
Do I Have a Trademark or a Service Mark?
If you want to use the right symbol, you need to make sure you know whether you sell a product or a service.
What Should I do If Someone Copies My Trademark?
Even if imitation is the highest form of flattery, you still need to let them know that you have to protect your trademark. You can, of course, always offer to give them license.
Can I Defend My Trademark Even if It Isn’t Registered?
Absolutely! You should defend your trademark. You need to understand where you are in the levels of protection, but if you don’t protect your trademark (registered or not), you could lose it! Don’t be afraid to send out a Cease and Desist Letter if it is necessary.
How Can I Monitor My Trademark?
It is always a good idea to keep an eye on what is being said about you or how your trademark is being used. When you are getting started, just set up a google notification on your mark.
Is it That Simple?
Simple, yes. But, not easy. It is a lot of work to protect your trademark, but it isn’t as big a hurdle as you thought, is it? There is not reason you can’t get started right away.
If you have a business and you are out there, go back and make sure your trademark is protected. You can do these things right now:
- Make sure you are using the right symbols to let everyone know they are yours.
- Make sure you are watching to see how people are using it.
- Create a basic template Cease and Desist Letter, so you can use it if you need it.
- Consider whether registering your trademark will help you meet your business goals right now.
- Make sure to revisit those goals at least annually.
How do you protect your trademark? Did you know you can use Trademark Symbols before you have done anything to register the mark?