Whether you want to boost your brand status or protect your business name from imposters, using a trademark symbol will get the job done. If you want to know how to trademark a business name, you’re in the right place!
In the following article, I’ll walk you through everything you need to know about trademarks and the process of marking your business name.
What Qualifies as a Trademark?
A trademark is simply any logo, phrase, word, or even a design that you use to brand your service or goods from competitors.
Ideally, anything qualifies for trademarking unless they’re within certain legal protection. In addition to already registered trademarks, here’s a brief list of the things that you can’t trademark.
To put it in the simplest way possible, you can’t trademark the word “computer” while selling computers. Generic names are the linguistics within a certain business that is used by everyone.
However, if it’s outside your business linguistics, you might be able to trademark it. For example, when “Apple” and “Blackberry” trademark their business names for electronics, but not for actual fruits.
The federal government might recognize certain businesses as trademarks even if they’re not registered to avoid confusion among customers. So, you have to keep this in mind.
What Are the Benefits of a Trademarking Your Business Name
There’s a wide variety of business advantages that you can get by registering your business name as a trademark. Here are some of them:
- Protects your rights of being the sole beneficiary of your business name
- Defines your brand name among customers and create powerful links to your products
- Prevents confusion among customers if other competing businesses have the same name
- Having the trademark symbol is an automatic boost to the “prestige” of your business
Trademarking Products vs. Trademarking Business Names
You should know that trademarks are highly specific. While it defines your business from other businesses, it might not provide protection of sub-brands, such as model numbers on your products.
To enjoy full protection, you have to trademark both your business name as well as your product’s name.
How to Trademark a Business Name
Now that you have a better understanding of a trademark and how it works, it’s time to know how to trademark your business name. Surprisingly, it’s much simpler than you think!
Step 1: Search the Trademark Name Database
To avoid any future problems and cut the time short on all the legal hassle, make sure that you conduct a trademark name search in the USPTO database.
You can easily do this by looking up the database for all the registered trademarks and pending applications that closely resembles your business name.
You may stumble across a certain search result that may cause confusion or even the denial of your trademark application.
To kick things up a notch, you may even do a quick google search to make sure that no entity on the internet has the same name as your proposed business name.
While some of these names might not be registered as trademarks, they might still have some state protection of some sort.
Any comprehensive form of searching in this step will always pay off by reducing the potential trademark problems before filing an application and investing actual money (and time) in the process.
Step 2: File an Application
After completing your research and making sure that you’ve eliminated the most possible legal troubles and unwanted hassle, it’s time to file an application with the USPTO to trademark your business name.
The application will require you to fill in some information regarding your business, such as:
- Your business name
- Your name and address as the future trademark owner
- The kind of product you want to protect (goods or services)
- The status of your products (whether you’re already in business or haven’t started yet
Throughout the application process, you’ll also need to provide a sample that shows your business name while in use.
A good tip here is to hire an attorney who specializes in such aspects to avoid problems and meet the requirements within your deadlines.
How Much will a Trademark Cost You?
According to the USPTO website, the initial application fee is $275 (TEAS Standard) or $225 (TEAS PLUS) per class of goods/services as of 2020.
Keep in mind that this price is per the individual mark. So, you’ll need to do a separate filing for every mark you wish to protect.
Similarly, if you use the same mark for various classes, such as using it on tools as well as garments, you’ll have to file an application for each to get approved.
Step 3: Respond to the Contested Feedback
After filing your trademark application, it’ll undergo review by USPTO examining attorneys. You have to stay alert during that stage, as the USPTO might send you an office action letter, which means that there’s a certain issue with your mark that needs resolving.
The letter will explain the problem and the deadline you have to resolve the issue. Make sure you stick to that deadline or the application will be denied.
The examiner might also request additional documents, which you have to submit within a deadline.
Keep in mind that your application will be published through the official gazette and will go through a 30-day period where other business entities have the ability to oppose your mark if it infringes theirs. That’s another reason why having an attorney will make things much more streamlined.
Once all disputes end, you’ll receive a Notice of Allowance (NOA). this NOA states that you’re now eligible to use your mark, so it’ll be registered within their official database.
Also Read: How to Write a Business Plan
That’s it, now that you’ve received your trademark eligibility notice, you’ll enjoy its protection perks and add the “®” symbol to your business name.
Now that you know how to trademark a business name, you can focus on growing your business and build your brand!