There you go, living your best life. You started a business, you’re checking off all the things on your to-do list, and just killing it. But one day, you search the internet for your business (just to see how nice your name and logo look together) and you come across another business using a very similar name and logo as you. *Gasp*
This happens. More than we’d like to admit. But you can prevent it from happening to you by registering a trademark on your name and logo.
Wait, what’s a trademark & what does it protect?
A quick rundown on what a trademark is.
A trademark is a word, phrase, or symbol that distinguishes a source of goods. The big companies like Nike have a trademark in both their name and their logo ✔️. Even though you have a trademark as soon as you choose your name or logo, you should register it to ensure maximum protection.
Whether you’re an e-commerce business or not, you can have an unregistered trademark by simply putting ™ after your name or logo. BUT… that just gives you minimal protection.
Having a registered trademark gives you different protections. The most obvious is that you prevent others from using your name, phrase, or symbol which ensures there is no confusion by consumers. You also look super legit cause you get to use the “®” symbol once the registration goes through. Most importantly, though, you can sue anyone that infringes on your trademark and block them from entering any goods through customs.
Trademarking a business name vs a logo
Typically, businesses will have a name and a logo. Your biz name is what you choose to call your business (duh), but a logo, on the other hand, is typically a graphic that represents your business. In general, a business name won’t change, whereas a logo may change over time as the company grows and times change.
Think of Apple Inc., for instance. They’ve always been Apple, Inc. but their logo has changed over time:
Image sourced from Apple’s website
Have both? Register both
As we talked about earlier, there are plenty of reasons to register your trademark, whether it be a name or logo. Mainly, you want to do it for the legal protections and to keep anyone else from hijacking your hard work. You also register it to start legitimizing your business. Your customers will feel better and safer when buying from you.
So you decided that registering both is the way you want to go (trust us, it is), but how do you even get started doing that?
You'll want to go to the USPTO website and follow the process there. The process can be quite time-consuming because, well, anyone can register a trademark, which means the database is pretty big. Overall, it can cost anywhere from $1500 to $2500 to get through the process. We know… it's a bit hefty. But it’s so worth it to protect yourself so you may even want to hire a lawyer that can help ensure that your application is correct.
Another caveat you’ll want to think about is that each trademark application is limited to one trademark. So, if you have a name and a logo or if you have different versions of your name or of your logo, you’ll need to file multiple applications.
Don’t forget to be real careful with any scams out there. They usually come creeping once you register.
Protect your biz
You’ve spent so much time (and money) building up your business. The last thing you want to do is rename it or choose a different logo when you’ve got a good thing going for you. It’s important to register your name and logo to ensure you and your business are protected.
Ready to get started on registering a trademark? You know we got you! Our Trademarks on Tap™ guide helps you name your business or product and completely walks you through the trademark process.