One of the best parts of starting a business is naming it. You get to put your creative mind, heart, and soul into discovering the right stamp you want to put on your brand. This can be a daunting task, but once you decide on a name and see it in print, it seems like your dream is a reality. However, there’s a lot more that goes into making it yours than you may realize. Here are some tips to keep in mind when turning a brainstormed name for your company into a trademarked asset and symbol of your business.
What Is Trademarking?
Trademarking can seem like a complicated process, but in its simplest terms, it is having a federally registered trademark that protects the words, symbols, design or combination associated with your business’s brand. This stops others from being able to misuse or imitate your trademark. Therefore, it’s vital that you get your business’s name and logo trademarked so that you can make sure your branding is original and can stand out from competitors while also protecting the brand you worked so hard to build.
What Trademarks Cannot Be Registered?
There’s no point in going out, printing thousands of business cards, ordering signs, and advertising with a name that you cannot claim as yours. Sometimes, it's already someone else's. Also, before you cash out on your branding, it’s important to note that not all trademarks can be registered, and without being a registered trademark, it’s very difficult to claim your branding as yours in court. Before you get too eager, keep in mind a few things that cannot be a registered trademark.
Names that use generic words, ones that could cause confusion between competitors or marks that could be confused with other registered or pending trademarks, and trademarks that falsify your product or service are all almost certainly not going to be approved. Therefore, tackle the naming process with those key factors in mind.
What Are the Next Steps After Approval?
Once your trademark registration has been approved, think about trademark monitoring systems. This often involves hiring a company to research and examine the use of your federally registered trademarks. You might not want to worry about this as soon as your business begins, but it’s definitely something to keep in mind once your company takes off.
Your brand's name and logo can become a stamp of recognition in your target’s mind, so it’s important that you make a good first impression. Above all, make sure to protect your brand and monitor misuse that could tarnish your brand’s reputation. Now that you’ve built your brand, it’s time to secure it for the future.
References & Further Research:
Akalp, Nellie. “A Business Name vs. a Trademark: Do You Know the Difference?”Entrepreneur.com. https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/246669#(accessed September 22, 2017).
“Trademark Basics: What Every Small Business Should Know Now, Not Later.” Uspto.gov.https://www.uspto.gov/trademarks-getting-started/trademark-basics(accessed September 14, 2017).
Wolfe, Lahle. “Four Steps to Legally Establish the Name of Your Small Business.”theblalance.com. https://www.thebalance.com/legally-register-business-name-3514835 (accessed September 13, 2017).