Your company's name is more than just a label; it's a valuable asset that not only represents your brand but represents the legacy of your work in the world as well. It tells your clients, customers, and community who you are and what your business stands for. Protecting your business name through trademark registration can be a crucial step in securing your brand identity and preventing others from using a name you’ve invested in without your permission.
In this blog, we'll walk you through the essential steps to trademark your business name – ensuring it remains uniquely yours and legally protected from others who may want to copy or imitate it.
Step 1: Conduct a Trademark Search
The first step in trademarking your business name is to ensure it's not already trademarked by someone else. This involves conducting a comprehensive trademark search.
To do this, go to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) website and run a search for existing trademarks that may conflict with your business name. If your business name is already registered as a trademark, consider a different name or consult with our office to assess the issue further.
Step 2: Choose the Right Category
When you submit an application to register a trademark, the application will ask you to choose the type of business category your company falls under, such as food services or building materials. To trademark your business name, you must identify one or more categories that best suit your business.
Selecting the appropriate category or categories ensures your trademark protection extends to the products or services you offer. Misclassifying your trademark under the wrong category could lead to limitations on the protection of your name, so be sure to contact us if you have any doubts about which category your business fits into best.
Step 3: Prepare and Submit Your Application
Once you've chosen the right category, it's time to prepare and submit your trademark application. This can be done online through the USPTO website, where you'll need to provide detailed information about your business, including a description of the goods or services you offer. Additionally, you'll be required to pay a $250-$350 filing fee per class category depending on the type of application.
After submitting your trademark application, it can take several months, or even up to a year, for the USPTO to review and process it. During this time, it's crucial to monitor the status of your application using the USPTO's online tracking system.
If there are any issues or questions from the USPTO, it's essential to respond promptly and accurately to keep the process moving forward.
In the meantime, it would be a good idea to take screenshots of your trademarked terms being used in the world, so you can submit proof of use of the name when the USPTO requests it.
Step 4: Defend and Renew Your Trademark
Once your trademark is registered, it's your responsibility to defend it against any potential infringements. This means keeping a watchful eye on the marketplace for any unauthorized use of your business name or similar names. If you come across any infringements, contact us right away so we can support you to prevent the unauthorized use of your trademark.
It’s also important to know that trademark protection doesn’t last forever – it must be renewed every ten years to maintain its legal standing. Be sure to keep track of your trademark's renewal date and submit the necessary paperwork and fees on time to prevent it from expiring.
Don’t Just Hire a Lawyer, Hire a Team Member
Trademarking your business name is an essential step in establishing and protecting your brand identity. With a registered trademark, you can confidently move forward in building your brand while protecting your business's future and your personal legacy.
If you want support to consider whether you should trademark the name of your business, and then the support to actually do it, we can help. We don’t just create legal documents and show you the door – we serve as an extension of your team by regularly collaborating with you to help you realize your vision for your life and business.
To learn more about how we serve our clients, schedule a complimentary call with us using the button below.
This article is a service of a Personal Family Lawyer®. We offer a complete spectrum of legal services for businesses and can help you make the wisest choices with your business throughout life and in the event of your death. We also offer a LIFT Business Breakthrough Session™, which includes a review of all the legal, financial, and tax systems you need for your business. Call us today to schedule.
The content is sourced from Personal Family Lawyer® for use by Personal Family Lawyer® firms, a source believed to be providing accurate information. This material was created for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as ERISA, tax, legal, or investment advice. If you are seeking legal advice specific to your needs, such advice services must be obtained on your own separate from this educational material.
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