Before You Trademark: 5 Things You Should Know

As a business, it’s not enough to have a solid game plan for growth and a team of enterprising, top-notch workers. You also need to trademark your name. Your business name isn’t just a concept or a placeholder. It’s the word everyone will think of when they consider your business. That comes with a lot of responsibility: Picking the wrong name, or even failing to register your trademark with a DC Trademark Attorney, could easily spell disaster down the road if you’re not careful. But before you choose your name and register, there are a few things you should be aware of.

1. It Needs To Be Unique

Every business wants to be totally unique. One way to create an idea of your company in the public mind as a totally new, unique concept is to choose a strong trademark. However, you can’t just use anything for your mark. Your choice should be unique rather than generic, and shouldn’t borrow too closely from other trademarks unless you want to get into a sticky legal situation. You can use a made-up word or a mashup or two words to create a new corporate identity, or even trademark your own name for your business (i.e., Russ and Daughters, Pep Boys Auto.) Whatever you do, just make sure you’re not using a generic or copycat mark from someone else.

2. Your Website Should Correspond

In earlier days, it wasn’t too important to have a web presence all set up and ready before you even launched your business in earnest. If you forgot, it was easy enough to buy a domain name that corresponded to your trademark. Today, however, not only is it crucial to set up a website and social media links for your new business, you need to make sure you pick up the right domain name before bots come swooping in to absurdly raise the price of your .com domain to make it impossible for you to buy it. Buy your domain name as early as possible to avoid this issue.

3. You’ll Need To Use the ICANN and USPTO

For your trademark to be legally protected, you’ll need to look up similar marks on the USPTO, or United States Patent and Trademark Office, to make sure your name isn’t taken. You’ll then have to register your trademark. After that, you’ll want to search the ICANN database, or the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, to make sure your web domain is available and that no one is using your mark to capitalize on their website.

4. You’ll Want Legal Advice

Before you get embroiled in a legal scandal, you’ll need to take some time to consult with a lawyer about your trademark plans. Even if you’re just seeking good advice, it’s worth it to have someone who’s well-versed in the law to help you create an airtight business protection plan.

5. Registering is Vital

Before you’re in the clear, you have to register your trademark. This isn’t technically mandatory, but it will help you stay legally protected from thieves and bots out to steal your corporate identity. Don’t just settle for applying for your trademark: Protect it by registering.

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