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Business Management

Trademark Your Business Name Now!

It’s fast, easy, cheap, and essential

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Y our business name is more than just a name. When used correctly, it can be the cornerstone of your brand—something that can

encapsulate your values and set you apart from other competitors. Thus, protecting your business name is often a critical step for many business owners as they begin their entrepreneurial journeys and work to grow their businesses and brand identities. This is where trademarks can come into play. 

A trademark is a type of intellectual property that grants the trademark holder several important legal rights, each of which can go a long way toward safeguarding a brand’s identity and longevity in the marketplace. The following guidelines show how to trademark a business name and when doing so might make sense for your business.

First Things First: Do You Need to Trademark a Business Name?

In short, no. You do not need to trademark a business name. But doing so can provide a number of benefits and is certainly worth considering depending on your business’s needs and goals.

Why Trademark a Business Name: Three Common Reasons for Business Name Registration

While registering a trademark for your business name is not mandatory, it can offer various benefits and protections that would be otherwise unavailable. Below are some reasons why you might consider registering your business name as a trademark. 

1. Legal Protection and Exclusivity

First and foremost, registering your business name as a trademark provides several important legal protections. One of the primary rights granted to a trademark holder is exclusivity. This means that by trademarking your business name, you will have the exclusive right to use that mark (i.e., your business name) in connection with the goods or services your business provides. Thus, any business that later tries to register a trademark for the same business name for the same class of goods or services will be unable to do so. Trademarking your business name also prevents others from using a confusingly similar name for their goods or services, even if it’s not exactly the same as your registered mark.

2. Build Brand Identity and Recognition

Having a registered trademark for your business name can also help you build your brand identity and increase recognition in the marketplace. Registering your name as a trademark allows you to create a unique identity that customers can recognize and associate with your goods or services. This, in turn, can help distinguish you from competitors as you make strides to build your brand identity. It’s also worth noting that only federally registered trademarks are permitted to use the highly sought-after “®” symbol, allowing you to further set apart your business as an established brand.

3. Legal Recourse Against Infringement

Having a registered trademark for your business name also allows you to pursue legal action to protect against infringing uses of your protected mark. Potential remedies for such infringement include: 

  • Injunctive relief, or a court order directing the infringer to stop using the mark  
  • Monetary relief, which might include your damages and the infringer’s profits resulting from their wrongful use of the mark
  • In some cases, reimbursement of reasonable attorney’s fees you incurred in pursuing legal remedies for such infringement

Filing a lawsuit for infringement may not always be necessary, but having the option to do so if and when the need arises can give you added peace of mind.

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How Much Does It Cost to Trademark a Business Name?

The fee for filing a trademark application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) currently ranges from $250 to $350 per class of goods or services. This filing fee will be the minimum cost to trademark a business name. Note, however, that if you plan to register your trademark in connection with multiple classes of goods or services offered by your business, you must pay a separate fee for each class. That said, the cost to trademark a business name will ultimately depend on a variety of factors, such as: 

  • The type of application you file
  • How many classes of goods and services you choose to apply for
  • Whether you hire legal counsel to conduct a preliminary trademark search or prepare and submit the application on your behalf

Note that the USPTO fee schedule may change from time to time. Be sure to check their website periodically for the most up-to-date fee information. 

A trademark is a type of intellectual property that grants the trademark holder several important legal rights.

How to Trademark a Business Name: Step-By-Step Process Overview

If you’ve decided to pursue trademark registration for your business name, here are some key steps to keep in mind. 

1. Conduct a Preliminary Search for Existing Trademarks

It’s important to note that if another individual or entity has already registered a trademark for the name you want to register, you may be prevented from doing so. Conducting a preliminary search for similar marks is generally recommended. While not necessary, it can help avoid legal issues and may save time, application fees, and resources in the long run.

2. Prepare and Submit Your Application

The USPTO trademark application is relatively straightforward, but it does require a lot of information about your business and proposed trademark. Examples of information you will need to provide typically include: 

  • Contact information for the business
  • Date you began using the proposed mark in commerce
  • Identification of your business’s goods and services associated with the mark
  • Specimens or examples of the mark’s use in commerce in connection with your business’s goods and services

Having this information prepared ahead of time can allow you to prepare and submit your application more efficiently. 

3. Wait for Approval or Denial of Your Application

After submitting your application, the review process will begin. Don’t be discouraged if you haven’t received any updates for some time—the average time for registration is currently 14.5 months from the original filing date. If your application meets all necessary requirements for trademark registration, the USPTO will approve the application for publication in the Official Gazette. As long as no third parties file oppositions within 30 days, the USPTO will register your trademark.

4. Respond to Any Office Actions

Throughout the examination process, the examining attorney assigned to your application may issue one or more Office Actions. These Office Actions are notices from the USPTO that typically request additional information or clarification regarding your application. The USPTO will want this information before determining whether your application meets the requirements for trademark registration.  Be sure to respond timely to any Office Actions, as failure to do so may result in the rejection of your application.

5. Maintain Your Registration

After obtaining your trademark, continue to take the necessary steps to maintain your registration and protect your brand identity. You will occasionally submit additional filings and fees to prevent your trademark from expiring and maintain its active status.

Disclaimer: Bizee and its affiliates do not provide tax, legal, or accounting advice. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, legal, or accounting advice. You should consult your own tax, legal, and accounting advisors before engaging in any transaction.

Key Takeaways

  • Your business name is the heart and soul of your brand, and protecting it is vital.
  • A trademark protects your brand identity from theft, unauthorized use, and more.
  • Legal protection and exclusive use are 2 advantages of a trademark.
  • Trademarks build your brand’s identity and recognition, and help distinguish you from competitors.
  • A registered trademark enables you to pursue legal action to protect against infringement.
  • The cost, time, and actual steps required for filing a trademark application.
  • Megan Douglah

    An attorney at Lyda Law Firm in Denver, Megan represents businesses and individuals in a wide variety of litigation and transactional matters. She has assisted clients with consumer protection disputes, real estate transactions, wills and trusts, contract review and negotiation, and landlord/tenant disputes. She also has experience in intellectual property law. Read more


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