Should I register a trademark for my coffee shop name before opening it or should I wait until the business is successful?

Generally, it’s best to trademark at least your name and logo as soon as possible. This prevents people from using that name by showing up when others do a trademark search for your shop’s name AND by allowing you legal recourse if someone comes along and imitates your shop without permission.

Another reason to register your trademark is that it allows you to go through the search process and make sure there aren’t any similar-named businesses out there. If your name is “confusingly similar” to an existing trademark, that business could bring a trademark infringement suit against you, and the owner could force you to change your name. As a coffee shop, that name goes up on buildings, on cups, on bags, etc., as well as all over digital and social media. It would be a real headache, for sure.

You can actually claim ownership of your trademark without formally going through the registration process with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), but your rights are limited to the geographic regions where your trademark is used. Also, if another company comes along and infringes on your name, you will end up spending more money litigating in court. Thus, formally filing for trademark protection will afford you maximum legal protection from the start.

After that, if you have other marks you’d like to have covered, you have the luxury of waiting and testing your market. Once you have shown that your coffee shop can be a success, you can then register these marks. If things don’t eventually work out, you are not out the money it costs to apply for a trademark.

If you decide to go ahead and start the trademark process on your coffee shop’s name, please don’t hesitate to visit us at LawTrades, where you can get a free consultation w/ an experienced, on-demand trademark lawyer. Good luck!

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