• October 2018
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If I’m starting a blog/business, should I copyright or trademark the name of it?

Good questions as intellectual property (IP) is extremely important for a new business. I’m going to answer your questions in order:

If I’m just barely starting it, should I do either of these?
Yes you certainly should trademark your blog’s name, slogan logo to prevent others from ripping off your blog and be provided a legal recourse if it ever happens. (Keep in mind that logo, company name, and slogan will require three separate filings). Although you can claim ownership of your trademark without formally registering with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), your rights are limited to the geographic regions where your trademark is used.

Regarding copyright, your entries are protected by common law because they are “fixed in a tangible medium of expression.” However, like trademarks, failing to register for copyright protection makes it more strenuous to seek relief when an infringer appears. Because bloggers write so often, it may be advisable to register just the significant entries. For more on copyrights, check out Stanford’s comprehensive website.

Is there a way to protect my business/blog name other than getting either a TM or copyright?
I would suggest adding Terms of Use and Privacy Policy agreements to your blog. These would add just another layer to your argument that your stuff is indeed yours. A former post of mine goes into depth as to the importance of these agreements for a blog: When is a “terms and conditions” and “privacy policy” page necessary for a blog?

At what point should businesses get these, if not at the beginning?

You should probably trademark your startup shortly after you incorporate for two reasons:

  • If you’ve done a thorough trademark search – you can find out if you’re actually infringing on another company’s mark and avoid significant legal risks.
  • Although you can claim ownership of your trademark without formally registering with the USPTO, your rights are limited to the geographic regions where your trademark is used, so formally filing it will afford you maximum legal protection.

How should I handle my IP issues?
With IP, there are many legal requirements, strict deadlines, and the filing fees are not refunded in case you mess up. An attorney will do the research to make sure the mark isn’t already taken, ensure the filing gets accepted by the Office, and provide sound legal advice throughout the whole process. If you’re looking for competitive rates from a trademark or copyright attorney, then feel free to check out LawTrades. Our legal platform makes it easy for entrepreneurs to get affordable legal representation in the least stressful way possible. Good luck!

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