It takes numerous steps to establish a business. One such step is business registration, and it’s when you take steps to ensure your business name is registered in your region’s local registry.
This step is often mandatory, and you can’t run a business legally unless you register it with a government agency, with a few caveats. A similar way to business registration is trademarking. Unlike registration, a business owner has no obligation to trademark your business name, so it makes sense why you’d want to hold off on such a step. After all, it makes the process swifter. However, you’ll find that most experts would advise you to trademark your business name. Here’s why.
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1. It Offers A Higher Level Of Protectable Rights
When you register your business name, you can enjoy protectable rights to a certain extent. It’s what experts call common-law rights. Though it has numerous meanings, in this context, it refers to your rights to be the exclusive owner of your business name and its products and services. However, those rights are limited only to a specific geographic area.
Suppose you register your business name in Oklahoma. In that case, people can still run a business using your business name outside Oklahoma’s borders. You can’t do anything about it.
Meanwhile, if you trademark your brand or business name with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), you’ll be the exclusive owner in the entire country. Put simply, a business trademark provides the same perks as business registration, except on a much larger scale.
However, it’s worth noting that this only applies to trademarks in USPTO. Trademark Engine and similar service providers are an excellent way to file a business name trademark to the USPTO, not just at a state level.
This higher level of protectable rights comes in handy in numerous scenarios, including:
- When you have multiple branches located in several states,
- When the brand does business across the country, and
- When you have an online presence that extends far beyond your state.
It is the first and most significant benefit of trademarking one’s business name, but that’s not all. Though a nationwide protectable right is enough reason on its own to trademark your business, there’s a higher level than that.
2. You Become Eligible For Protectable Rights In Other Countries
Under the Madrid Protocol, business owners can trademark their business name in more than one country. If you have sufficient funds, you can trademark your business name in up to 128 countries and pay one big set of fees. Of course, the trademarks are separate. It’s an excellent feature for the same reasons as the previous benefit, though it’s not as accessible.
If you want to utilize the Madrid Protocol and trademark your business in multiple countries, you must already have a trademark in your native country. That’s typically the primary requirement.
3. You Can Thin Out The Competition
The primary merit of trademarking is the protectable rights you gain for your business name. But the name isn’t the only thing you can gain protectable rights for. It also counts for the goods and services your business renders. That means if you trademark your business name, you can make it so nobody else can sell the goods or render the services you offer.
Of course, they can always offer products and services supposedly ‘inspired’ by yours, but it helps that they cannot copy it exactly. In a way, this can help thin out the competition.
4. You Can Avoid Legal Troubles
It’s not unusual to find yourself in legal trouble due to your business name. One scenario that can happen is when an older business sues your brand for copying them if you have the same or even a similar name as theirs. If you have no trademark, then you may need to pay legal fines and fees as you have no way to disprove them.
Now, imagine if you’ve already trademarked your business name. In that case, you can protect yourself easily from these issues because the USPTO approved your trademark.
Another legal trouble you can avoid through a trademark is when counterfeit goods with a similar name as your offerings are imported to the country. If you have a mark, you can record it with the USCBP or U.S. Customs and Border Protection. In doing so, if they find counterfeit goods with the same name as your business’s products, you’ll face no issue.
5. You’re Doing Everyone A Favor
It’s a common practice for business owners to conduct a trademark check before they register their business name, products, and services. That way, they don’t unintentionally copy other businesses and waste their time and effort. Unless you trademark your business name, your brand won’t appear in the database business owners often use to do a trademark check.
It may not necessarily be beneficial to you. But if you trademark your business name, you can save people with the same idea as you by essentially announcing that theirs is already taken.
6. The Business Would Look More Legitimate
One thing you may notice in some businesses is that their brand names have the logo ® in them. It is the symbol that shows that a brand has registered a trademark. Since only legitimate businesses can register a trademark, having this logo on your business can add to its legitimacy.
In some cases, people may even believe that your business has been around for a long time, even if it’s not. In other words, a business name with the ® logo is more alluring than one without. So, while the effect might be negligible or even non-existent to some, it’s undeniable that there’s a slight chance a trademark can lead to your business attract more customers.
Summing It Up
Most business owners know it takes several days or weeks to trademark a business name. Though it’s mostly due to the long waiting periods, it’s still a pain in the neck. That’s why it’s understandable that you might not want to do it if you can help it. Hopefully, with this guide, you now understand that trademarking your business name can help in many ways.