Trademarking your company name protects your business’s right to use that name both now and in the future. As such, trademarking a company name is a very important step in building a successful business. Here is what you need to know about making sure you do it correctly – and at the right time.
What Does a Trademark Do for Your Company?
When you trademark a company, it protects that company’s name. First and foremost, it gives you the right to use that name for your business legally. Second, it prevents anyone else from using that same name for their business, which is important for marketing and branding. According to the USPTO, or United States Patent and Trademark Office, a trademark can be defined as a word, phrase, symbol or design, or any combination of these things, that identifies and distinguishes its source from others. You can trademark your company’s name, logo, and any other symbols, and you can even trademark your jingle. This way, each of these things become your own and no one else can use them.
The Best Way to Trademark a Company
If you want to get started with trademarking a company name, the best way to go about it is online. Simply navigate to the USPTO website, and check the Trademark Electronic Search System, or TESS for short, to find out if anyone has already registered an identical or similar mark. Keep in mind that trademark protection is granted in geographical regions, as well, so if you are on the West Coast and someone has already used your name on the East Coast, you can still obtain a trademark.
Fill Out the Form
It’ll take you about 90 minutes to fill out the application online, and it costs anywhere from $275 to $325. You will need to provide information that includes, but is not limited to:
- The categories of goods and services the trademark will represent;
- The date of the mark’s first use in commerce; and
- Whether there is a design component to the mark you want.
Although you might also want to register your online domain name in today’s internet-focused world, experts advise against registering the web extension (.com, .net, or .org) along with it. This will prevent other businesses from registering that domain name simply because they chose a different extension. If you want to register your domain along with an extension, be sure to register without it, too, in order to protect yourself.
What to Expect
After you’ve filed your application, you should receive a final response within six months. Keep in mind that there is always a good possibility that your application could be contested when you trademark your company, particularly if your trademark is very similar to one that already exists in your geographic location. In this case, it may benefit you to hire an attorney who specializes in intellectual property, especially if changing your desired trademark would be detrimental to your business.
Trademarking a company name is well worth the time and expense since it prevents other companies from infringing on your intellectual property rights. However, be sure that you act fast since the trademark goes to the company or entity that submits its application first