When you start a business, one of the most important things you can do is protect your name. If a company opened up shop using your same name, it could take a big hit on your sales. When building a brand, investing in advertising, and ensuring that consumers can find you, it is essential that you have properly protected your business name in the event that others want to use it. Unfortunately, many business owners are unaware of the difference between registering their name and filing for a trademark. Let’s examine the two processes below.
Registering a Business Name
When applying to be a corporation or a limited liability company (LLC), the secretary of state will check to make sure that your proposed name is not already in use by another company in your state. Each state has laws and requirements for business names so you must check ahead of time to find out what specifically pertain to you. Once your application is approved, your business name is protected by the state. This does not stop other individuals from forming an LLC or corporation with the same name in another state or stop a company that operates as a sole proprietorship or partnership from using it. If you plan on expanding outside of your state or sell your products across the country, then you should protect your name with a trademark.
Filing for a Federal Trademark
A trademark is a word, phrase, symbol or design that identifies a product or service. They can be granted on distinctive names, logos, and slogans through the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). A trademark provides exclusive rights and prevents anyone else from using it at the state and federal level. Applying for a trademark costs $275 per class and can take six to twelve months. Prior to applying, you should conduct a basic search to make sure no one has a pending application for the proposed trademark. Additionally, you will need to conduct a comprehensive name search to see if another business is using your name at the state or county level.
While simply registering their name with the state protects some businesses, others require exclusive rights across the country. As you are in the building phase of your brand, think about your particular protection needs then take the right legal steps to enforce them. Brian Cozzi, Inc. can help consult with you on all your business needs and provide a step-by-step process of what you will require when starting your own company. To learn more, contact us for a free consultation.
The Good, The Bad, The Ugly: A Step-by-Step Guide to Starting a Business
So you want to start a business but you don’t know the steps to take to get there. Entrepreneurship is no simple journey. It entails a significant amount of time, hard work, failure, and rebuilding. But a true entrepreneur is not afraid of the struggles that come with such a rewarding endeavor. If you are ready to start your company, there are quite a few things to know and steps to follow before taking the plunge.
Being a small business owner means wearing a lot of hats ranging from a customer service representative, accountant, and project manager. This leaves little room to focus on marketing. One of the best ways to market your business is through local press coverage. The primary goal is to attain new customers and make your business known. While media coverage is a goal of many businesses, it is a tedious task.