The name of your business makes a huge difference. There is a reason business owners typically spend extra time making sure they have a catchy title that captures customers’ attention and communicates what the company does. In addition to these requirements, you must also make sure to find a company name that is not already taken or similar to an existing trademark. Even if an existing company is in a different field, you cannot name your business too similarly.
If you fail in this area, you will be forced to change the name of your business, spend extra money reprinting business cards or other documents and undo all your hard work in marketing. Of course, your business will also benefit from having a completely unique name for customers to associate with your products. The process of registering a trademark can be difficult, but it is ultimately very important. This short guide should help you learn what steps will be most beneficial when you are trying to find the perfect name for your company.
The Searching Process
The first step you should take after deciding what to call your business is searching through existing company names. You cannot afford to cut corners in this process. Search through nearby local companies, across the nation and in all industries. It will be much easier to ensure your search is exhaustive if you consult an attorney. Legal professionals can perform a thorough trademark search to be certain that no businesses exist with similar names. Additionally, your attorney will have a better idea of whether an existing company’s name is too similar or not. It is best to have all your questions about trademark registration and laws answered by an expert.
How to Register
Once you have the perfect name picked out and it looks like you are in the clear to officially use it, you should begin the process of registering your new trademark. Of course, getting an attorney involved will ensure that you are following the steps properly, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do it on your own. Complete the following steps to register your trademark.
- Fill out and submit your applications. This can be done online or by mail. Visit the U.S Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) website for more information and to get a copy of the trademark application. Remember that you need to detail your business, provide personal contact information and include your application fee.
- Wait for a response. Once your file has been submitted, be prepared to wait a few months before hearing back about approval. You may be able to expedite the process if you have done your research in advance and are sure that no companies have a similar name. If your application is denied, however, you must resubmit and start again.
- After your trademark is approved, it will be published as a candidate, giving all existing companies a chance to object. If this happens, you must present your case at a hearing. If no one objects, your trademark will become official within one year.
- In order to keep your trademark, you must file an Affidavit of Use during your fifth or sixth year of operation, as well as once every ten years afterward.
Keeping Your Trademark
You finally have a trademarked company name that you are proud of. At this point, it is your responsibility to keep an eye out for similar company names. If you come across a potential infringer, contact your attorney. You should immediately send a cease and desist letter to infringers and file a Notice of Opposition if the USPTO publishes any trademarks that you feel would damage your brand. Remember that you need to use your trademark exactly as it appears on your registration form. You do not have the right to it in any other form, even with minor changes.
The content on our website is only meant to provide general information and is not legal advice. We make our best efforts to make sure the information is accurate, but we cannot guarantee it. Do not rely on the content as legal advice. For assistance with legal problems or for a legal inquiry please contact you attorney.