If you’re starting a business in California, don’t neglect intellectual property considerations, especially trademarks. When done correctly, a registered trademark blocks other entities from using your taglines, designs and marks. Depending on the type, trademarked logos and phrases are identified with either a ™ or ®.
Three benefits of trademarking a business name
Many startups and sole proprietorships choose not to register their intellectual property early on — and it’s a mistake. There are several benefits of trademarking a business name, including:
• Brand establishment and protection
• Ability to take legal action if a competitor infringes on your intellectual property
• Increased investment viability
Failing to trademark your business name can lead to disaster. Imagine if a competitor registered your logo, tagline and business name before you? You’d kick yourself for months!
How to trademark a business name
Step one in the trademarking process is research. Before applying, determine if another party has already registered the same or confusingly similar name. Business formation & planning attorneys typically have access to registration records and usually get the job done quickly.
Once you’ve done the necessary due diligence, it’s time to submit your trademark application to the United States Patent and Trademark Office. For those with the budget to do so, letting an attorney handle everything might be the safest route. If you prefer to do it yourself, the USPTO has an online application system.
After a review, the USPTO will send out approval or rejection. If your application doesn’t pass muster the first go-round, you can appeal the decision for a fee.