Registration of a trademark in essence is insurance for the name of your company and/or your goods. However, when many companies are formed, the owners stop short of protecting the valuable name of their company or goods. The Chapar Firm believes that omission is a mistake. Many firms believe that their name is protected when they register their name with the Secretary of State to conduct business in their state. That is not the case. A business name search is not the same as a trademark search. A business name search is conducted only to ensure that no two entities in a given state have the same name. Before you invest your life savings in start-up costs of your business, wisdom dictates that you ensure that there is not another business in another state conducting business under the name that you are going to invest in for your company or products.
With the availability of the Internet, customers from all over the world have access even to small “local” businesses that advertise via a webpage or other means on the Internet. Therefore, protection of your name should be a priority. Conducting a trademark search and registering your trademark at the federal level provides the best possible chance that you do not infringe upon another’s mark and that no others infringe upon your mark.
Trademarks are registered for the names of goods (your product) or services. Generally, trademark protection at the federal level provides exclusive right to use that name – with some exceptions for previously existing use in commerce. If a competitor begins using your registered name, you may claim infringement. Infringement may arise by using a name that is confusingly similar such that there exists a likelihood of confusion between the goods and services offered by the competitors. Investing in a name, a website, business cards, stationery and signage, etc. is expensive. Trust us, the last thing that you want to receive after that investment is a “Cease and Desist” letter informing you that your name is confusingly similar to another’s mark. Changing your name can be expensive, especially if the name is on your product, and fighting an infringement claim can put you out of business.
We highly recommend that all business owners invest in the future of their business by conducting a trademark search registering their trademarks to ensure that no others are using their business or product names. Please contact us for further information.