What's in a name? If you're Shakespeare, maybe not much. But if you are a business owner, what goes into a name is quite important.
You probably spend countless hours on itcome up with a company name. To protect your business from liability and protect your intellectual property, follow the trademark steps to make sure your name is safe.
In this article, we will discuss the definition of a registered trademark and the benefits of registering your company. We will then guide you step by step in registering a name.
Before starting the company name registration process, please checkavailability of the domain nameto ensure consistency in your digital brand. If available, you can claim it for free when you sign up for a Wix Premium membership.
What is a trademark?
What are the benefits of registering a name?
How to register a name
What to expect after the presentation(Video) How To Register a UK Trademark For Your Brand Name | Step-By-Step Tutorial
4 Common Reasons Why Trademarks Get Rejected
What is a trademark?
INCommercial brandis a legally protected symbol, word, phrase, design or combination of these elements that represents a brand or company. In the case of a name registration, a trademark gives the owner the exclusive right to use the mark in connection with the products or services it offers. This ensures that no one impersonates your company by using your name without your permission. It also discourages other companies in your industry from using the same or even a similar name.
It's worth noting that registering a trademark with the USPTO provides stronger state rights than a generic trademark, which only applies to your geographic area.
The benefits of registering your company name
There are some notable benefits to registering a business name:
own exclusive rights: When you own the rights to your name, you can control how others can use your name and take legal action if it is used in an unauthorized way. This means that no one else can use the same or a similar name for similar goods or services without your permission.
attract investors: When you areTo start a businessand need to raise capital, a registered trademark can help build trust in your business. Investors want to see you build a reputable and unique brand and take steps to protect it. In addition, not only does trademarking a name protect companies from lawsuits that can quickly drain money, it also makes it easier to license and franchise your business, signaling to investors that there are opportunities for expansion. A company brand also shows them that you take this business venture seriously and would be a responsible business partner.
Strengthen your brand: A registered trademark helps establish your brand identity, making it easily recognizable both by name and aesthetic. For that reason, it is useful to include the logo (a type of logo that represents a trademark in a stylized font) in the trademark registration. Think big brands like Ikea or Coca-Cola - just looking at the name is enough to think of their iconic logos, including the font and color scheme. When you register your company name and logo together, you ensure that the corporate identity enjoys the same legal protection as your name.
expand your business: As your business grows, having a registered trademark can make it easier to enter new markets. You can protect your brand from infringement while standing out from the competition.
Protect your business from legal action: The main advantage of trademarking a name is that it provides legal protection for your company and your name. If someone tries to use it, you can take legal action against them. If you don't trademark a name and another company with a very similar name does, they could sue your company.
How to register a company name in USA
Here we go through the seven steps you need to take to get a trademark approved byUnited States Patent and Trademark Office(USPTO). Please read these tips carefully before you begin your application to avoid mistakes that could cause delays in the approval process.
Consider whether your business really needs a trademark
Search the trademark database
Find out if your company name qualifies for a trademark(Video) How to find brand name availability | how to register brand name in india | trademark registration
Determine which brand you need
Select the correct brand classification
Determine your recordkeeping basis
Choose the right app for your purposes
01. Consider if your business really needs a trademark
Branding a name is not something that happens overnight. According to the USPTO, the process usually takes between12 and 18 months. For that reason, it's important to first determine if it's necessary to use a brand name for your business before spending time submitting your application.
If you have limited financial resources or do not plan to expand your business beyond a local area, you may want to remove trademark registration from your list of difficult tasks.
02. Search the trademark database
Enter the name under which you want to registerUSPTO Electronic Trademark Search Systemto determine if it is available. This database contains all registered and pending trademarks in the United States. If your name is on the list, go back to the drawing board.
If you cannot find your selected company name in the TESS database, please search for similar names. You can use a variation of spelling or similar words to see if there is another company with a similar name to yours. If you see a company in your industry with a similar name, your trademark may be rejected. For example, if you tried to register the name "Mack Donald's," the USPTO may find it too similar to the existing trademark "McDonald's" and reject your application.
03. Check whether your company name is eligible for a quality mark
Even if you can't find the name you want to trademark in the USPTO database, it may not qualify for a trademark. The USPTO hasrequirements for a trademark registrationwhich goes beyond the existence of a matching brand. For example, the name should not be misleading, immoral or too generic. We'll discuss several issues later in the article that can make your business name ineligible for a trademark. If you're not sure if your business name qualifies for a trademark, consulting with a trademark attorney can help clarify your options.
04. Determine the type of brand you need
There are two types of trademarks relevant to the name registration process: a standard mark and a special shape mark. The type of format you choose will determine your filing requirements.
A standard character mark (often referred to as a "word mark") is a common trademark for a name in plain text. It is the most flexible way to register your name as a trademark, as it protects your company name no matter how it is presented stylistically.
With a specially formed mark (often referred to as a "design mark"), you are seeking protection over a mark that uses specific design elements, such as additional fonts, colors or designs. For example, the name "Pepsi" along with the brand's circular logo is considered a distinctive shape mark. The advantage of this type of mark is that you can protect both the text and the design.
05. Select the correct brand classification
Trademark classifications (also known as classes) are used to categorize different types of goods and services for trademark registration purposes. The USPTO acknowledges45 classes of goods and services, of which 34 goods and 11 services. This classification process helps the trademark examiner determine whether there are conflicting marks in the same class.
It is important to select the correct class (or classes if your company qualifies for more than one) for your trademark application, as the USPTO does not allow you to change the classification once you have filed your application. If you choose the wrong class, your trademark registration may be rejected or it may not provide adequate protection for your products or services.
In addition, the class(es) you choose for your trademark application determines the scope of protection. If the trademark name is used in a circumstance irrelevant to the classification, the use may not be protected. Let's say Ulta (a beauty chain) wanted to have an annual music festival. They may not be allowed to call the festival "Ulta Music Festival" because "Ultra Music Festival" is already a registered trademark.
It is worth noting that the class(es) you choose in your trademark application will determine the scope of protection of your trademark. This means that if you use your mark in a context outside the scope of the selected classes, it may not be protected. Let's say the beauty chain Ulta Beauty wants to host an event called "Ulta Music Festival." Although the company owns the trademark "Ulta", it is registered in a class of shopping services. Therefore, you may not be able to use your preferred name because it is very similar to the "Ultra Music Festival" trademark registered in the entertainment service class.
That's not to say you have to register your name with a bunch of different classes. You must pay an additional $250 fee for each class you select in your application. Therefore, registering a trademark in multiple classes can be quite expensive.
06. Determine your basis for the presentation
When you register a name, you have to decidepresentation base(or application basis if several apply to your situation) for your application. A filing basis establishes your right to register the trademark and determines the basis on which you claim ownership of the name. The trademark application contains four filing grounds from which you can choose:
use in trade: Your name is already used on publicly available products or services.
intention of use– Your name has not yet been used, but you can demonstrate that you intend to use it on goods or services in the near future.
foreign registration: Applying for a trademark with the USPTO as a foreigner indicates that your trademark is currently in use in another country for the same goods and services.
foreign application: You have already applied for a trademark abroad and are now filing in the US within six months of your original application, so that both can be approved in a similar time frame.
The application basis determines when the trademark registration takes effect. Commercial use, foreign registration and foreign application require proof of use or registration. On the other hand, the usage intent allows you to reserve the tag for later use.
07. Choose the right app for your purposes
Once you have all the information you need to submit your application, you can start applying for a trademark. You must register for an account on USPTO.gov to access the online filing system, the Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS).
Because the name registration process is somewhat tedious, the USPTO provides a simplified version of the standard application. HeTEES louterThe submission option application is for companies who can answer all questions with confidence.necessary questions.
Choosing this option not only increases the likelihood of your application going through the process faster, but also reduces the filing fee from $350 to $250 per application. class of goods/services. If your application does not meet all the requirements, your application will be returned toStandard TEapplication and you must pay the additional $100.
Once submitted, you will receive a confirmation and a serial number to refer to your request and check its status. A public patent attorney will review it and determine if they approve of your trademark. This part of the process can take several months, so don't worry if you don't hear back soon after you sign up.
What to expect after the presentation
If the research attorney asks questions or has issues with your application, you will have an opportunity to respond to the Office's actions and make changes to your application. Note: This can add several months to the process.
When the USPTO approves your initial application, the department will publish the trademark name in the Official Gazette, a weekly publication announcing new trademarks. Third parties still have 30 daysfight your fire. If the USPTO does not receive a valid complaint, it will issue the trademark for your name.
However, remember that you want to keep your numbers even after they are spent. Federal trademark registrations last for 10 years. However, you can keep your brand active by submitting maintenance documents and paying maintenance fees periodically. You must also demonstrate continuous use of your trademark, as trademarks that have not been used for a long time can be deleted or abandoned.
It's worth noting that once your trademark is active, it's up to you to enforce it. Organizations such as the USPTO give business owners rights and legal grounds to take legal action in the event of a breach, but they will not act on their behalf.
It is also important to knowregister a company nameit is a separate process that you must participate in once you have registered it.
4 Common Reasons Why Trademarks Get Rejected
Let's discuss some common trademark filing problems and how to avoid them. (For a full list of issues that are grounds for refusal, seeUSPTO Application Checklist.) If your application is rejected, you can file a complaint with the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board or start over with a new trademark application.
01. Your trademark resembles an existing trademark
If your trademark is similar or identical to an existing trademark or company name, the USPTO will likely reject your application. For example, if you try to register the name "Wall Mart", the USPTO will likely reject your application because it is too similar to the trademark "Walmart". Even if the existing trademark is for a company in a different industry, the USPTO may reject the trademark if it could mislead consumers.
02. Your name is incorrectly descriptive
The USPTO may deny your application if it determines that the proposed mark misleads consumers about a quality or characteristic of the goods and services you offer. For example, if your name contains the word "organic," but the products are not organic, the USPTO may consider the name organic.misleading or descriptive.
The USPTO may also deny your application if you are attempting to register a generic trademark.descriptiveperiod, as this would unfairly disadvantage other companies. If you e.g. wants to name your beverage company "Juicy", the USPTO may deny your request.
To avoid any of these circumstances, make sure that the name you want to register is original, accurate, and not overly descriptive. Studybest company namesor use the from Wixcompany name generatorfor help coming up with a name that is both relevant to your business and memorable.
03. Your brand is a surname
The USPTO may deny your application if the grade consists of alast namewhich has no meaning or meaning other than the identification of an individual or family. Therefore, if I tried to register my surname "Shwake", my application would probably be rejected. However, they may accept my application if people already associate my last name with the products or services I sell.
If the trademark you want to register is purely decorative, such as a design with a symbol or word on clothing instead of your company name, it will probably be rejected. The mark must have a purpose of designating a brand or a company and cannot be purely decorative.
To register and trademark your brand name, search the TESS database for similar brand names, fill out the trademark application and submit it to the USPTO for review.How can I own the rights to a name? ›
You will need to register it as a trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The name that you select for your company must be distinctive to receive trademark protection. Common words or phrases that are not inherently distinctive are not offered trademark protection.How can I trademark my name for free? ›
There is no way to register a name trademark for free because you will always have to pay at least a small fee that covers the costs of examining and processing your trademark application. There is no way to get a federal trademark for free.What is it called when you register a name? ›
So establishing ownership of and rights to a business name is an important step for businesses that want to ensure a name remains one-of-a-kind. Registering a trademark helps protect a name or brand from intellectual property theft or misuse as a business grows.How much does it cost to trademark a name? ›
The basic cost to trademark a business name ranges from $225 to $600 per trademark class. This is the cost to submit your trademark application to the USPTO. The easiest and least expensive way to register your trademark is online, through the USPTO's Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS).Can I pick my own name? ›
File a petition. If you choose to change your name legally, you'll need to file for a name change with your local court. Depending on where you live this could be online or in person.Can I patent my own name? ›
No, It Isn't Possible to Patent a Name
To protect your brand name and logo, you will need to utilize the trademark registration service. Both patents and trademarks are registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
Copyrights primarily protect the rights of people who create literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, and certain other original works (like history tests, and software code). Trademarks can protect the use of a company's name and its product names, brand identity (like logos), and slogans.What happens if you don't trademark your name? ›
If you do not register your trademark, you will have legal rights only within the geographic areas where you operate. This means you may be able to stop a subsequent user of the mark, even if it is a bigger company, from using the mark in your geographic area only.How long does trademark last? ›
Unlike patents and copyrights, trademarks do not expire after a set period of time. Trademarks will persist so long as the owner continues to use the trademark. Once the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), grants a registered trademark, the owner must continue to use the trademark in ordinary commerce.
- Check for availability of the Business Name (click here). ...
- Complete pre-registration form – CAC-BNo1 and upload relevant registration documents(Online using Company Registration Portal)
- Pay filing fee Check the Fees for our Services here.
A business name is a company's officially registered name, while a trademark is a form of legal protection for that name, preventing it from being used by another business.What names can you not register? ›
Names that contain obscenities, numerals, misleading titles, or are impossible to pronounce are likely to be rejected by the Registering Officer, when registering a child's name at birth. This is to prevent the child from harm.Do you have to pay taxes if you trademark a name? ›
Report your profit from the sale of the trademark on your income taxes. You cannot deduct the cost of creating your trademark, but you can apply it to your formulation of the "income tax basis", which is the reference point for determining tax liability upon sale and depreciation deductions.How long does it take to trademark a name? ›
In fact, there's no guarantee your trademark will ever register, as it may be refused for various legal reasons. Usually, the process takes 12 to 18 months. Registering your trademark is a complex procedure that involves your application moving through various stages.Should I trademark my name? ›
Registering a trademark for your personal name can be a good way to protect yourself from people who want to profit by using your name without your authorization. It can also help if you are a victim of cybersquatting.What is it called to own a name? ›
A trademark typically protects brand names and logos used on goods and services. A patent protects an invention. A copyright protects an original artistic or literary work. For example, if you invent a new kind of vacuum cleaner, you would apply for a patent to protect the invention itself.How hard is it to change your name? ›
In some states you have to appear at a brief court hearing before a judge to have your name change approved. It can take several weeks or months to receive your certificate of name change, again depending on the state. You may have to pay an additional fee for a certified copy of the name change.Can you keep your name professionally? ›
You can keep your existing name. You can use both last names—with a hyphen or without. You can take your spouse's name, but use your former name strictly in a professional setting. Some states even allow you to move your old name to your middle name, and then tack on your new last one.What is the cheapest way to patent a name? ›
The cheapest way to trademark a name is by filing with your state. The cost varies depending on where you live and what type of business you own. If you are a corporation or LLC, you can expect to pay less than $150 in most cases, while sole proprietors and contractors can pay anywhere between $50 to $150.
Normally you can't register a trademark for non-business purposes or without a business; however, if you have a business up and running and are still in the process of linking the trademark with the goods or service, you can apply your trademark under the second category and the USPTO will give you a year to gather ...What are the benefits of trademarking a name? ›
The answer is that a registered trademark gives you the exclusive right to use your business name nationwide in connection with the goods and services you've identified in your registration, and allows you to enforce your trademark by filing a lawsuit in federal court.Does it cost money to copyright a name? ›
Filing a trademark for your business name with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) will cost between $225 and $600, plus legal fees. You can register with most states for $50-$150 if you don't want protection outside your state.How does a trademark protect you? ›
A trademark typically protects brand names and logos used on goods and services. A copyright protects an original artistic or literary work. A patent protects an invention.Can someone sue me for my trademark? ›
What will happen if someone sues me for trademark infringement. A trademark owner who believes its mark is being infringed may file a civil action (i.e., lawsuit) in either state court or federal court for trademark infringement, depending on the circumstances.Can someone steal your trademark? ›
Trademark theft is the use of a name, slogan, word, phrase, or symbol that is used in commerce by another business. This is known as infringement and is defined by the court based on the likelihood of confusion by consumers due to unauthorized use of the mark.Can someone trademark my LLC name? ›
If you have an LLC, it's definitely possible to trademark your business name, and it's often a great idea! While registering your business as an LLC keeps other businesses in your state from using your business name, you can more fully protect your brand from copycats by registering a trademark.Can you lose a trademark if you don't use it? ›
You can lose a trademark in a variety of ways. You can lose a mark through abandonment. A mark will be considered abandoned if you stop using it for three consecutive years and you have no intent to resume its use. You can also lose a mark through improper licensing or improper assignment.What is an example of a trademark? ›
The McDonald's golden arches design is an example of a registered trademark in special form format. The company Nike registered this trademark in special form format, combining the stylized word Nike with their swoosh logo. The format of the trademark you apply to register affects your application filing requirements.Can you lose a trademark if you don't protect it? ›
You can lose your exclusive proprietary interest in a mark if it is not properly defended. Although a trademark can be recognized at common law, your best protection comes from using a registrable mark and getting it registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
- DOCUMENTS REQUIRED. A checklist of documents will be provided to record your details.
- DRAFTING. ...
- DISPATCHING DOCUMENTS. ...
- NEWSPAPER PUBLICATION. ...
- APPLICATION FOR PUBLICATION IN AN OFFICIAL GAZETTE. ...
- PUBLICATION IN AN OFFICIAL GAZETTE. ...
- DISPATCH OF THE OFFICIAL GAZETTE.
You can use a pseudonym to separate your professional online presence from the rest of your online activity. Pseudonyms are very common and have many other benefits other than just privacy and security, but don't use them solely for privacy. You can not expect your real identity to remain secret online.How do you form a business name? ›
- Understand your business. You need a solid understanding of your business — its purpose, vision, mission and target audience. ...
- Use descriptive words. ...
- Be literal. ...
- Choose a name style. ...
- Avoid hard-to-spell names. ...
- Tell a story. ...
- Get feedback on the name. ...
- Don't be too narrow.
It isn't required, but to give your logo the most protection possible, it is beneficial to register your logo as a trademark with the USPTO. A common law trademark or unregistered trademark should be marked either with ™ or SM marks. The ™ mark is used for product-based trademarks.Who is the owner of a trademark? ›
Trademark owner is the party who controls the nature and quality of the goods and services used in connection with the brand. The owner of a trademark is the person who applies the mark to goods that they produce, or uses the mark in the sale or advertising of services that they perform.What is the most common reason that a trademark might be rejected? ›
The most common are: Likelihood of Confusion: The USPTO conducts a search for conflicting marks as part of the official examination of an application only after a trademark application is filed.Are any names illegal in the US? ›
Ten examples of prohibited baby names reportedly include King, Queen, Jesus Christ, III, Santa Claus, Majesty, Adolf Hitler, Messiah, the symbol @ and 1069. Other names that can be rejected from birth certificates are names that reference trademarked brands, according to usbirthcertificates.com.Can you name your child Jesus? ›
III, Jesus Christ, Adolf Hilter, Santa Claus and @ were all ruled illegal by courts in the U.S.Is naming your child Nutella illegal? ›
“The name 'Nutella' given to the child is the trade name of a spread,” the court's decision read, according to a translation. “And it is contrary to the child's interest to be wearing a name like that can only lead to teasing or disparaging thoughts (sic).”Should I get an LLC or trademark first? ›
It is better to form an LLC before filing a trademark application. So, before you submit a trademark application, you should create an LLC or other business entity. A business should form an LLC before applying for a trademark because the LLC will own the trademark.
Once you've come up with a creative name, logo, and slogan and they are federally registered, you now are ready to monetize your trademarks. Options include: Licensing your trademark and allowing another company to use it for particular goods and services. Trademark licensing is fairly common.Do trademark names expire? ›
A federal trademark lasts 10 years from the date of registration, with 10-year renewal terms. Between the fifth and sixth year after the registration date, the registrant must file an affidavit to state that the mark is still in use.What is the best way to trademark a name? ›
Once you've found a suitable trademark name, prepare then submit an application to the USPTO. Create an account, fill out the application forms and track your application status through USPTO's system. After the minimum application requirements are accepted, you'll be assigned to a USPTO attorney.What happens if someone trademark your name? ›
If the other business has a trademark, the current owner can infringe upon this legal protection by using the same company name. Then, he or she will need to change the name to avoid a possibly detrimental lawsuit based on the trademark already in use.How do I protect my name from a trademark? ›
Monitor your trademark
One way to protect your trademark is to monitor USPTO filings and oppose any applications to register trademarks that seem similar to yours. Another is to be assertive if you learn of another company that is using a name or logo that's similar to your registered trademark.
There is no way to register a name trademark for free because you will always have to pay at least a small fee that covers the costs of examining and processing your trademark application. There is no way to get a federal trademark for free.Can you own someone else's name? ›
You might be able to register a person's name as a trademark if the name meets certain conditions. Here are requirements for trademarking your own name or someone else's name: If the name identifies a living individual, consent to register must be made of record [see TMEP 813].What is it called when you own a name? ›
A trademark: Identifies the source of your goods or services. Provides legal protection for your brand.How do you know if a name is copyrighted? ›
You may conduct a free online search of the USPTO database at the Public Search Facility (Madison East, 1st Floor; 600 Dulany Street, Alexandria, Virginia) between 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. USPTO personnel may not conduct trademark searches for the public. Private trademark search firms will conduct searches for a fee.How does trademarking a name work? ›
When the USPTO approves a business name as a registered trademark, the owner has exclusive rights—at the state and federal level—to use the name. A trademark prevents anyone else from selling similar goods and services within the United States under that business name.
Unlike surnames, personal names (first names and first names used with last names) can act as trademarks without proof of secondary meaning because they are considered to be inherently distinctive.What is the difference between registered and trademark? ›
The registered trademark owner can use the 'TM' symbol upon application for registration and the 'R' symbol upon its registration, signifying its registration under the Act. The unregistered trademark owner can use the 'TM' symbol but not the 'R' symbol.What names Cannot be copyrighted? ›
- Information that is commonly known.
- Lists of ingredients, such as formulas and recipes.
- An idea for a novel, book, or movie.
- Business, organization, or group names.
- Domain names.
- An individual's pseudonym, like a pen or stage name.
The Copyright Office encourages applicants to provide the author's real name in the application for registration, even if the author's name does not appear on the copies or phonorecords of the work.Can you get sued for using a copyrighted name? ›
A trademark owner who believes its mark is being infringed may file a civil action (i.e., lawsuit) in either state court or federal court for trademark infringement, depending on the circumstances. However, in most cases, trademark owners choose to sue for infringement in federal court.