September 28, 2021
Picture this: You’re living your best life as a business owner. One day you’re checking off all the things on your to-do list, and you decide to search the internet for your business. (You know, just to see how nice your name and logo look together.) Horror of horrors, you come across another business using a very similar name and logo as yours. 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.
A trademark is a word, phrase, or symbol that distinguishes a source of goods. Big companies like Nike have a trademark in both their name and their iconic “swoosh” logo, for example.
You automatically have a trademark as soon as you pick your business name or design your logo. 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 unregistered trademark just gives you minimal protection.
Having a registered trademark gives you different protections. Most importantly, it prevents others from using your name, phrase, or symbol. You can sue anyone that infringes on your trademark and block them from entering any goods through customs.
A registered trademark prevents your customers from confusing you for another business. You also look super legit with those customers because you get to use the “®” symbol once the registration goes through.
Typically, businesses will have both 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 will stay the same, whereas a logo may evolve 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:
Now that you’ve decided that registering both name and logo is the way to go, how do you get started doing that?
First, go to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) website and follow the instructions there. Fair warning: The process can be quite time-consuming because anyone can register a trademark, which means the database is pretty big.
Also, each trademark application is limited to one trademark. 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.
Overall, it can cost anywhere from $1500 to $2500 to register your name and logo. We know, the amount might make you pause and wonder, “Do I really need this?”. But it’s so worth it to protect yourself in the long run. If you can, you might even want to hire a lawyer who can ensure that your application is correct.
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.
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.