Whether you are just starting up a business or perhaps rebranding one, trademarking is very important because this will allow you to protect your company from any infringement.
However, the process can be confusing for some. With that said, this article will serve as a short guide to everything you need to know about trademarking your business name.
What Is a Trademark?
Before we proceed with trademarking a business name, let’s first discuss what a trademark is. By definition, a trademark may be a word, logo, design, phrase, symbol, or even a combination of these that have been legally registered.
These are legally registered so that a company can use them to represent its business or products. So, once you have registered a specific material for a trademark, no other companies or organizations will be able to use it as long as the trademark fees are being paid.
Registering for a Trademark
There are two primary ways to register for a trademark: online and offline.
Nowadays, registering for a trademark for your company is relatively easy and will probably take less than two hours online. In fact, you won’t even need a lawyer for the process.
In this case, the easiest way possible to register for a trademark online is by going to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) website and registering there. However, before you proceed with registering for a trademark, make sure that another company hasn’t registered the word or phrase you want to trademark.
To check this, you can go to the Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS), which is found on the USPTO website and enter the word or phrase you want to register for your trademark.
If the word or phrase you are trying to register has already been registered on the USPTO website, you may want to call a lawyer for this. This is because there is still a chance that you can register your preferred word or phrase for a trademark even when others have already done so.
In addition, the cost of registering a trademark may vary. However, it’s typically between $275 to around $660 on top of some legal fees when registering on a federal level.
Alternatively, you may be able to register for a trademark within your state, and it would cost only about $50 to $150. Nevertheless, with federal registration, your company trademark is much more assured.
Aside from online registration, you can also file a trademark registration directly with the USPTO. However, this process will require you to have a US-licensed lawyer present when you submit the requirements to the USPTO.
Before You Register for a Trademark: What You Need to Know
You should also note that registering for a trademark isn’t guaranteed because there is a possibility that some of your requirements might be incomplete or that someone already got the name. Because of this, you must first check the requirements.
Type of Trademark
First, you should determine what type of trademark you want to register for. In general, you can apply for a regular or standard trademark or a special form trademark.
Knowing what type of trademark you’ll be applying for is essential because this can affect the type of protection you’ll receive, and the requirements will differ as well.
Similarity to Other Trademarks
As mentioned earlier, you will need to search the TESS for similar trademarks because there is a possibility that your registration will be rejected if there’s already something similar to your trademark registered with them.
So, suppose in case a similar trademark is found in TESS. In that case, you may want to change your business name instead to prevent any confusion among the other companies.
Identification of Your Goods and Services
When registering for a trademark, you will also be asked for the goods and services you offer. To identify the kind of products or services you deal with quickly, you may want to check the Trademark ID manual.
In this case, the amount chosen for the classes of goods and services will significantly affect the registration cost. Moreover, you should note that you won’t be able to add in any other classes once you submit your registration; you may only delete some, so you must choose well.
Why Register for a Trademark?
You may be wondering whether or not a trademark is essential for your business. Overall, the sole purpose of a trademark is to protect your intellectual property so that no other companies or businesses may use your name to do any business.
In this case, the safest way to ensure that no one else can use your name or business name for their endeavors is through trademark registration. This is especially true if you are using your own name for your products or services.
Another thing you should know about trademarks is that you won’t be able to reclaim a website without a trademark, even if others use the URL. For example, if you want to make a company website with your business name, but a cybersquatter is already using it, you have no choice but to give it up.
In this case, cybersquatters are those who purchase domain names but don’t plan on using them. Instead, they sell these names to those who want to use them. With a trademark, you can rest assured that you can reclaim that domain.
Overall, you can still operate a business even without a trademark. However, as mentioned earlier, some other companies could use your business name for their business operations. So, once that other company files for trademark registration, you may not continue using your company name.
With that said, although it may not be required for you to file for a trademark, it can be crucial for making sure your company can operate with the same name.