Unlocking the Power of Trademarking
If you’re a budding entrepreneur who has created a new product, built a new piece of tech or is looking to open a new shop - chances are that you’ve already come up with a great name. But how can you make sure that no one else tries to steal that name? Avoid losing your company or product name by trademarking it today.
In this article, we’ll explore how you can trademark a name in just a few easy-to-follow steps. But first, let’s establish exactly what a trademark is and the rights you’ll enjoy once you’ve successfully protected your brand name.
What Is A Trademark?
Trademarks provide legal protections for your company, helping you to limit competition and preventing instances of fraud. For example, if you own a vegan sandwich shop called EasyVegan & Sons but don’t trademark it, someone can legally open a store in a nearby city with the same name.
They could choose to trademark it first - which could force you to change the name of your sandwich shop. This will incur costs - both literal costs to remake signs and to your customers who may have grown familiar with your specific brand name.
Trademarking is an important step in protecting your business name. If you trademark EasyVegan & Sons using a United States patent, no other vegan sandwich shop will be able to use that name in the country.
People often incorrectly assume that trademarking a name means no other business in the country can use the same name. That’s not strictly true as patents are taken out in specific industries. Trademarking EasyVegan & Sons may prevent another sandwich shop from using the name, but it wouldn’t prevent a DIY chain from using the name, for example.
You can usually identify a trademarked brand name if it appears alongside the symbols ™ or Ⓡ. It’s important to note that not every trademarked name appears with these symbols and an online search is the best way to be sure if something is protected.
How To Trademark A Name Online
Since the invention of the internet, trademarking a name has become easier than ever. Let’s explore the steps to protecting your brand.
Check Existing Trademarks
Before submitting a trademark application, you’ll need to identify whether the name you want to trademark has already been taken by someone else. Use the Trademark Electronic Search System to search for the exact name and similar variations. By identifying if the trademark already exists, you’ll be saving yourself time and avoiding the risk of rejection. For EasyVegan & Sons, you’ll want to search the exact name as well as variations like Easy Vegans, EasyVegans & Sons and The Easy Vegan Company.
Write Your Application
The trademark registration process requires effort, but if you’re passionate about making your brand a success, then it’s work that’s worth doing. You’ll need to compile information including your name and address, as well as the brand name you want to protect. In most instances, this will be the name of your store - but you may also wish to trademark specific items, such as a particular sandwich name.
As well as trademarking the name, you can also protect other characteristics like color and font. Your trademark application should contain plenty of detail about the product you’re looking to trademark alongside the category it fits into. Multiple categories can be selected, but this will cost you more.
A trademark application template can be sourced online. If you’re confident with writing this document yourself, then do so. If not, consider hiring a trademark attorney. They’ll not only help you to write and submit your application but also do a more thorough search to ensure your trademark is unlikely to be rejected.
After writing your application, you’ll need to pay a fee. This will vary depending on how many sectors you select. The cost tends to be between US$250 and US$350.
Submit Your Application
Once you’ve settled on your brand name and completed the application, it’s time to submit it for review by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. You can expect to wait up to a year to hear whether your application has been approved. You can check for an update on your application at any time on the site.
Enforce Your New Trademark
Once your trademark is approved, you’ll have legal rights over the protected name. This means that the USPTO will prevent others from using the name for similar businesses.
However, enforcing the trademark will be your responsibility. If you spot another store using your patented name, you need to alert the USPTO immediately. They will take the necessary action to ensure your brand is protected. The best practice is to search for your trademarked name online from time to time to check no one else is using it.