Protect Your Company Name the Legal Way
When you devise an idea for a business, it can become all-consuming. Often, entrepreneurs will spend countless hours picking out the perfect name for their business. Rarely do these same entrepreneurs take steps to protect that name.
The law provides protection for your business name, but only if you follow the right steps. If you fail to take these steps, your protection diminishes significantly. Not only that, but you name is often one of the most valuable parts of a business, and if you don't own your own name, just how valuable can the rest of your business be?
How do I Protect my Business Name?
There are many steps to protecting your company name, but the best way is to register it legally as a trade name. A trade name is one type of intellectual property law. Intellectual property is generally defined as the product of our creativity. It can be an invention, an idea, a business name, artistic and literary creations, etc. In legal terms, intellectual property means the system of state and federal laws that ensure the creator of any kind of intellectual property protection from being re-used without authority or proper legal sanction. In short, these laws help the creator to take full advantage, financially and otherwise of his or her creation.
The various types of Intellectual property laws are enumerated below:-
- Patent law – This law secures physical products or processes for creating products
- Copyright law – This law protects creations from authors, artists, computer programmers. The creations can be books, music, speeches or a rigorous coding.
- Trade Secret Law – This law protects owners of creations of classified business details from becoming public knowledge. The examples could be recipes, perfume formulations, machine designs, etc.
- Trademark Law – This law protects businesses's branding, like logos, designs, business names, sounds that are associated with the particular company from being duplicated. For instance, the design of the Apple logo is a trademark of the Apple computer brand and is solely their property by trademark law.
Therefore, trademark law is the best way to protecting names of businesses whether it is a startup or a rebranded name of a business. A person or an entire company can protect itself from facing the ultimate theft of their name by following a few basic steps.
Steps to Take to Protect my Business Name
Discussed below is a short manual on how to legally protect a business name.
- Any owner while designating a name to their company goes through a painstaking process. In order to safeguard their possession, they should first perform a trade name search on the U.S. Patent and Trademark office website to ascertain that the chosen name is not already taken or is too similar to an existing company name.
- You must complete and file an application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The application should be either for an intent to use your creation, which, in this case, is your business name, or to mark your creation in use in the market. The two cases arise from the practical scenario of whether or not you have started using the company name officially.
- You must use the trade name officially.
- After you have filed in the application, you must wait. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office will contact you about the registerability of your application.
- Once your application is accepted, your trade name will be published in the official gazette of the PTO, making the information public that you have been officially granted a trade name.
- Now that you are officially trademarked, exercise your right over the trade name by renewing registrations and using the name correctly. Also, do not hesitate to sue potential infringers.
Your company’s name is officially your property if you take steps to protect it. Do not let anyone have the opportunity to misuse it. Exercise your right and pursue the offenders aggressively. This will protect the name that has been so arduously conceived by you.
If you need help protecting your business name, The Watson Firm can help you. Just call 205.545.7278 or complete the form on this page to get in touch with us now!