How do you protect your business brand name and trademark? Naming a business or a product is usually one of the more fun parts of a startup. It might be time consuming, but when you come up with the perfect name for your company or product, it’s much more satisfying than filing incorporation paperwork. Once you have that name, it’s important to protect it.
The first step in protecting your name is to make sure no one else is using it. You want to protect your business from an expensive trademark suit by another company.
You should conduct a full search to make sure no one else is using the name. It is crucial to make sure no one is using the name in your industry or any other related industries. Do a google search of your name. Check the trademark filings with the US Patent and Trademark Office Check the trade name registrations with the Georgia Secretary of State , and with the Secretary of State of states in which you plan to sell your product. Conducting as full a search as you can will save you from being sued for infringement by someone who was using the name first.
You can also pay for a trademark service to do the search for you. While these services are expensive, they are fairly comprehensive and can give you peace of mind that no one else is using your name.
The next step in protecting your brand and product is to register your trademark with the US PTO and your state registry. Registration gives you the exclusive rights to use your name without interference and confusion by use of anyone else, and to sue for damages in federal court if anyone else does use your name. Federal registration presumptively establishes that the trademark is valid, and that you are the owner of the mark, which is not confusingly similar to any other registered mark. This gives you an advantage in any litigation, shifting the burden of proof to infringers or potential infringers to prove that the presumptions are incorrect. The owners of unregistered marks first have to prove the validity of the mark, ownership, and first use.
This protection is quite beneficial when building a brand. While you may not want to pay the fees to register each product name, you should register your brand name, as well as any product names that are gaining in popularity.
Contact Williams Oinonen LLC today for more information about how to protect your business.