Business owners know they must get a business license, and most understand the importance of registering their name, as well as any names they will operate under, with the court.
Another step that is often overlooked by small business owners is trademark registration.
There is both state and federal trademark registration, and the small cost to apply for each is well worth it.
Consider the following situation:
A regional niche magazine had been operating for years under a certain name, but had never applied for a trademark.
When a publisher in a neighboring state began a similar magazine with the same name, the first publisher cried foul.
The publisher of the new magazine, however, had done a trademark search and had acted in good faith. While he agreed to change the name of his publication, he really was under no obligation to do so.
This could have resulted in a legal battle with no guarantee that the original publisher would be able to keep the rights to the name.
While the outcome in the above example was favorable, all of that could have been avoided had the publisher of the first magazine simply applied for a trademark.
Learn More: Do you need a copyright or trademark?
Not everyone who applies is approved as some phrases are too general to warrant approval and others have had a similar trademark approved by another company.
You should also be aware that the trademark registration process differs across countries and regions. For example if you’re looking to register trademarks in both the US and Canada, you may need to find a trademark agent to facilitate the process.
Keep in mind that trademarks, patents and copyrights are all different. Also, none of those three take the place of registering your business names with the court.
For information about applying for a trademark, visit https://www.uspto.gov/trademark.