You may dream of one day growing your business larger, but right now you might be focused on making your business name recognizable locally.
In many cases, however, you need to start thinking about your business name nationally and globally and taking steps to protect it there as well.
Why Should You Strive to Protect Your Business Name?
There are many reasons why you will want to take steps to protect your business name, such as:
- Other businesses with the same name in other states and countries could affect your business negatively.
- Scammers could put you at risk of business identity theft unless you take steps to prevent it.
- If your business grows nationally and internationally, you may need to change your business name unless you have secured the rights to your business name with a national and international focus.
- You have likely invested a lot of thought and effort into your business name and protecting it now ensures you do not have to change it — and risk your marketing efforts — in the future.
- If a larger company with the same name moves into your locality, you may need to change your name if you cannot prove you had the name first.
There are many upsetting situations possible with a name change. Perhaps you try to set up a website online, only to realize someone has copied your business name and has placed questionable content on the webpage associated with that name. Perhaps another business opens with the same name and you need to defend your right to use the most important brand indicator you have. In any event, taking steps now can prevent painful problems down the road as your small business grows.
How to Protect Your Business Name
To protect your business name, register your “Doing Business As” (DBA) name when you set up your company. Buy out the domain names for your exact business name as well as those close to your business name. For national protection, register your business name as a trademark. Opt for a federal trademark by filing with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).
To protect your business name internationally, seek to protect your business name by protecting it under the Madrid Protocol and the European Union Community Trademark System.
How to Protect Your Business Trademark
Simply registering a trademark is not enough. If there is ever a problem, you need to prove you have taken steps to protect your trademark. Without active protection and use of your trademark, you may lose the right to it. To protect your trademark, keep records of all the official times you use your trademarked name in marketing. Keep an eye out for infringement and challenge it promptly. Finally, use TM, SM and ®. These markers of trademark will show others you have trademarked your business name.
Do you need help growing your business and business name? SLC Bookkeeping offers bookkeeping services and business consulting services, especially designed for small business. Contact us today to get real-world business support, delivered in plain English.