For many people, the hardest part to starting a business is coming up with a name for your products or services. You want a name that will attract customers to your company, and you need it to stand out from the competition. When you strike upon a great name, you want to make sure that you can protect it against anyone else trying to use it.
When you trademark a name, you are making a powerful legal claim to that name. With a trademark in hand, you can feel assured that the name of your company, products or services will not be stolen by new entrants to your market. If someone tries to sell the same products or services using a similar or identical name, you can take that person to court. Often, the mere threat of a lawsuit can be enough to get the offender to back down and change the name of his or her company, products or services. When you have the power of a federally approved trademark, you usually have the legal upper hand on your competition.
The Decision to Trademark a Business Name
When you decide that you want to trademark a business name, you need to work with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to federally register your trademark. Some states offer protection, but USPTO offers nationwide protection that is federally enforceable. Because USPTO grants significant protection to people who trademark a business name, the agency requires applicants to provide specific information, which it closely inspects before allowing anyone to trademark a business name. The intensive process ensures that a trademark applicant is not infringing on someone else who already has a trademark for the name.
An example of the type of information required by USPTO is proof that you are using your trademark to conduct business. If you have not started to use the name you wish to trademark in your business yet, you can still trademark a name by indicating that you intend to use the name. Then you must later show proof that you have followed through on your intentions. USPTO is not interested in evaluating how successful you are; the office just wants to avoid letting people trademark a business name when they have no intention of using it. That would open the door to unethical practices like claiming names that others might want to use, as people often do with Web site URLs.
The Process of Business Name Trademarking
As you work through the process to business name trademarking, you also need to provide specific legal information about your industry. The trademark application form contains a significant amount of government and legal jargon. You need to be careful to answer each question on the form thoroughly and accurately or else USPTO could find a reason to reject your efforts to trademark a business name.
Although USPTO does not make it easy to trademark a business name, you can navigate the process more easily with the help of Gerben Law Firm, PLLC. Our services take the guesswork and frustration out of filing trademark applications. We handle all the forms for you so that all you need to do is provide a digital signature. We also perform detailed searches to look for potential problems created by existing trademarks.
After you submit your application, USPTO will assign a trademark attorney to evaluate your application. That attorney will look for existing trademarks and analyze your application to determine whether the name of your company, product or service would create confusion with an industry. To better understand the criteria USPTO uses for making such determinations, Gerben Law Firm will work with you during the filing process. If we find significant problems with the business name you want to trademark, we’ll let you know. USPTO collects a filing fee of about $275, and it won’t refund your money if it rejects your application. So you need to know about possible problems, and we find them for you.