Estimated reading time: 2 minutes
Whether you are starting a small business from scratch or have already launched a startup, you must safeguard your business name for several reasons. For example, did you know cellophane, aspirin, and crock-pots began as name brands before they failed to protect their business name?
Do not make this same mistake. Instead, make sure to protect your business name and your intellectual property. This Balboa Capital blog post explains what you can do.
Trademark your business name.
First, you should understand the difference between a trademark and a copyright. Trademarks are used to protect brands, titles, logos, and more. In addition, trademarks safeguard everything featured on your business’s website, collateral, and business cards. Unlike copyrights and patents, which have a limited time of ownership, trademarks last forever as long as you monitor them and follow the rules.
On the other hand, copyrights protect original works such as songs or poems. Likewise, patents are granted to inventors to protect their discoveries for a limited amount of time.
Register your business name and logo.
These days, registering a trademark for your business can be very simple. Among other things, you can get advice on what is best for your business’ legal needs. Online sources such as LegalZoom® make registering a trademark fast and straightforward, and they do not require the assistance of a lawyer. Instead, they will file your trademark request with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
Talk to an IP attorney.
With most businesses now having some online presence, it is vital to be aware that there are no geographic boundaries. So while your name could be unique to your hometown, securing your name is necessary if you have plans for eventual expansion. An intellectual property (IP) attorney can help you with this.
Because trademark requests are granted on a first-come, first-served basis, it is in your best interest to secure this immediately if you have not already. Although nothing says you have to trademark your name, it is to your benefit to ensure your business is protected.
Like most small business owners, you probably spent a considerable amount of time deciding on a business name and finding the right domain name. In addition, a lot of time, effort, and financial resources go into brand names, logo design, and marketing. So, make sure you take the necessary steps to protect your business name from a legal standpoint.
Balboa Capital, a Division of Ameris Bank, is not affiliated with nor endorses LegalZoom or the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.