What's in a Name?: Why You Should Trademark Your Business
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What’s in a Name?: Why You Should Trademark Your Business

So you’ve spent years developing your business’ brand and have cultivated a loyal customer following. All of a sudden you find out that there is another company with the same name and/or logo. You may think that the odds of that happening are slim, but it is something happens often and can have major effects on your business. The brand you’ve worked so hard on can be snatch right from under you. It doesn’t matter who started first, what matters is who has the receipts to prove ownership.

If you’re just starting your business or even if you’ve been in the game for years but haven’t already trademarked your company, do this immediately! Yes, it does mean extra money and time spent on paperwork if you want it done correctly but the benefits completely outweigh the inconvenience. If you find yourself in a situation where you started your company first but someone has registered it, you could be left with no legal leg to stand on and forced to change your brand.

The good news is that you have options. You can hire a lawyer to fight the case or you can just continue using your name as long as you’re not in the same industry and you don’t try to expand your market. The drawback is that you can only continue working in the same market as the time the name was registered. One of the primary elements the courts consider is if the businesses are in the same industry. If it is really unlikely that the other business’s customers are going to be confused because you have the same name, there isn’t really an issue with infringement. Trademark law help your business as well as your customers. While these laws were created to protect intellectual property, another key goal is to avoid consumer confusion. It helps prevent customers from thinking that they are buying the same product or services and receiving the same quality from a trusted source.

If you find yourself in the unfortunate position of having to give up your brand, all is not lost. One way to ensure your survival is to keep your old domain name. Use the site you’ve developed a web presence on to direct traffic to your new brand’s website. Even though you’ve lost your name, you can still take advantage of your online customer following. A good way to avoid all of this is to trademark your name and logo before you launch. While you may not think it could happen to you, there are tons of people out here looking for good ideas to grab. Many brands have lost their protected trademark because they allowed others to infringe. Keep in mind that even after you get your trademark, it’s up to you to protect your ideas! The first step is to check that your name is available. You can do this by going to the US Patent and Trademark Office’s website. The USPTO reviews trademark applications and determines whether an applicant meets the requirements for federal registration.

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