A small business owner has no proprietary rights unless he trademarks his company name. Sounds alarming? Well, that’s how it is. Registering your company, or domain name does not give you any automatic right to use the name as a trademark.
Naturally, when people set up an entity, one of their ultimate goals is to get their name out there and ensure their brand succeeds in the market. Your name, logos, and designs that identify your company’s name form an integral part of your brand.
With regards to this, small company owners need to ensure that their copyrights and trademarks are protected in their quest to get their company operations off the ground through advertisement and marketing of their goods or services.
A registered trademark gives the owner the right to take legal action for infringement against a company name owner who uses it for products or services such as those covered under your registered trademark.
The terms business name and trademark relate closely. Let’s first understand their differences.
This is used to distinguish your products or services from others. Registration of a trademark gives the registered owner exclusive rights to use the trademark within the stipulate geographic region.
A business name represents the name under which a company operates. Registration only identifies the company owners. Registering your name is compulsory and must be done before the company starts operating.
Unlike trademarks, a company name does not give the owner proprietary rights to use the name to do work. If you haven’t trademarked your company name, it’s prudent to do so to avoid losing millions of dollars in future in a bid to protect it. In worse scenarios, you can lose the rights to use it. Since trademarking your company costs a few hundreds of dollars and the application can be completed within minutes, it is important that you register it.
Why Trademarks are Important
Trademarks safeguard the names, words, sounds, colors or symbols that distinguish your products and services from those sold or manufactured by others. Typically, if a small company owner is operating in a small geographical area, he does not have to register his trademark. However, with the upsurge of e-commerce, selling your products or services over the internet to other regions or states makes trademark protection crucial.
Sam, trademark lawyer
“Nowadays, everybody’s using the Internet in one way or another, which, in my opinion, necessitates a federal registration,” Sam said. “Perhaps the fundamental benefit of getting a federal registration is the fact that it expands your geographical reach either throughout the nation or state, based on the kind of registration you get.”
Function of Trademark
Trademarks prevent any sort of confusion that may arise in case multiple companies use similar or the same names and /or logos. The process of trademarking legally sends a formal notice to others that your company owns exclusive rights to a certain name within a specific geographic location.
When your company name becomes renowned, a person can use your company’s reputation to benefit themselves. For instance, in 2005, the name MorganFreeman.com was registered by a company that wanted to attract hits from those searching for information about the famous actor of the same name. Freeman decided to trademark his name and got rights to the domain name.
The process of Trademarking
As earlier noted, registering a trademark takes minutes and only requires a few hundred dollars. You can seek the assistance of a competent lawyer to ensure everything is done right. Keep in mind that you could lose millions of dollars in litigations when your company expands to become a big, national chain.