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According to the US Patent and Trademark Office, a trademark or service mark, “includes any word, name, symbol, device, or any combination, used or intended to be used to identify and distinguish the goods/services of one seller or provider from those of others, and to indicate the source of the goods/services.”
A trademark is typically the business name or company logo; it is important to have a unique, memorable name or emblem so your customers can easily identify your business amongst your competitors.
No. A “trade name” is basically the name that you’ve used to identify your company. It offers no legal protection or limitless rights for the use of that name; it is just the name. Trade names are registered on the state level, meaning a specific name may be available in one state but not another. For more about this scenario, read about using a DBA.
No. A patent gives an inventor a right over a product or process in exchange for public disclosure about the invention. Learn more about the differences between patents and trademarks.
When starting a business, registering your trademark, logo, and/or business name should be an important consideration. Below are six benefits of registering your trademark.
The simple answer is: as soon as possible, for the six reasons stated above. Most business owners start to explore the trademark process before even forming the company. It can become quite costly in legal fees to have to amend the company name, should you accidentally infringe upon someone else’s registered trademark.
Information surrounding all the registered trademarks in the United States Patent and Trademark office can be found at uspto.gov. You can conduct a search and do the necessary research in order to ensure there is not another registered trademark like yours.
Many of our clients have hired an attorney that specializes in trademarks, as the process can be heady and complicated. Should you wish to conduct a trademark search or try to complete the application procedure on your own, feel free to reach out to the Trademark Assistance Center at TrademarkAssistanceCenter@uspto.gov or call 1-800-786-9199.
THE AUTHOR OF THIS BLOG ARTICLE IS NOT A LAWYER AND HARVARD BUSINESS SERVICES, INC. IS NOT A LAW FIRM. THE ARTICLE ABOVE IS NOT INTENDED AS LEGAL ADVICE AND SHOULD NOT BE TAKEN AS LEGAL ADVICE. THIS SHORT ARTICLE IS STRICTLY TO MENTION SOME ASPECTS OF DELAWARE’S CORPORATION LAWS AND/OR LAWS RELATING TO OTHER FORMS OF ENTITIES WHICH YOU MAY NOT BE FAMILIAR WITH. WE RECOMMEND THAT YOU CONSULT WITH A LAWYER BEFORE FORMULATING A STRATEGY WHICH WILL BE SUITABLE FOR YOUR SPECIFIC CASE.