Intellectual property theft is always a problem in the business and startup world. It pays to be prudent and make sure that your intellectual property is protected. One of the most important pieces of intellectual property you have is your business name.
A business name is not just a name for the sake of having a name. A business name is a crucial part of branding that influences the perception customers have of your business. It plays a role in your long-term success.
So that begs the all-important question, when is the right time to trademark a business name?
In this post, we’re going to reveal everything you need to know, explain why you need to trademark a business name as soon as possible and share with you the ramifications of not trademarking the name of your business.
1. You Could End Up Committing Trademark Infringement
The longer you delay filing to trademark a business name, the more likely it is you may end up committing trademark infringement. When you file a trademark for your business name early, you guarantee that this is your intellectual property and that your business name is yours legally.
If you wait too long to do this, then there is the possibility that another company can come along, use your business name and trademark it right from under your nose. The next thing you know, you’re getting a cease and desist letter from the other company telling you that you’re infringing on their intellectual property.
Don’t make the mistake of waiting. File your trademark as soon as you can to avoid this situation from happening to you.
2. You May Not Be Able To Trademark Your Business Name
It’s important to realise that you may not be able to trademark your business name. It depends entirely on the type of business name you choose and the ‘meaning’ that the name conveys. This post by Buchwald Associates will give you a good indication of the kinds of names that can be trademarked. So read this before you trademark a business name.
3. Consider If There Were And Are Any Prior Uses Of That Name
If there are any existing or prior users of the name you wish to trademark, then you could run into some difficulties trademarking that name. Even though another company didn’t trademark their business name prior to you, they still have some rights to the name just by being the first one to use the name publicly.
This doesn’t mean you can’t or won’t be able to trademark the name if it hasn’t been trademarked. It means it won’t be as simple as it otherwise would be.
4. You Don’t Get Automatic IP Rights To A Name Just For Using It
It tends to be a perpetuating myth in the startup world that because you use a business name, you own the IP rights to the name as well. Now, there is SOME truth to this, but to say that you get legal rights over the name is not necessarily true and this follows on from the previous point.
The only way to guarantee legal IP rights to a business name is by trademarking it. Otherwise, another company can come along and trademark your business name, and therefore, capitalise on your naivety. If this happens to you, it could render any prior usage by you legally useless and you may have to change your name as a result.
5. Trademark A Business Name Before You Launch
Do your due diligence to see if the business name you want to use has already been trademarked. If it hasn’t, file your trademark on that name as soon as possible. The best time to do so is before you even launch your startup because then you know that you’ve covered your bases legally and have the legal IP rights to a particular business name.
Final Words: Trademark A Business Name
Trademarks can be a complex legal affair so it’s always best to seek the advice of legal experts in this area. Book a consultation with our legal team and we will be happy to assist you to trademark a business name.