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3 Tips Every Business Owner Should Know About Trademarks

By: Shelby N. Hughes, Trademark Attorney

Trademarks provide brand recognition for your goods/services and are noted by either the signature circle R (®) or TM/SM, depending on where you are in the application process. A trademark gives you ownership of your brand on a national level. If you have a logo, business name, slogan, or tagline that is unique to your business, here are 3 valuable tips on how to protect your brand with a trademark.

  1. Your business entity (LLC, Corporation, Partnership, etc.) does not have to be formed before filing an application for a trademark. Forming a business entity only gives you the right to do business in that state and does nothing to protect your brand. If your brand is already in use, trademarks can be applied for as an individual and later be assigned to your business entity after it is formed. Registering your trademark before developing your brand could prevent costly future litigation and rebranding of your company.
  2. Slightly changing a trademark does not eliminate likelihood of confusion. Changing the spelling of a name, adding a word, or deleting a word are slight changes that will likely not resolve any problems your trademark has with an existing trademark. If there is a likelihood that your trademark could be confused with another’s, and you are in the same industry, your trademark application may be rejected. Conducting a trademark clearance search is highly recommended to detect potential obstacles in the application process.

  3. Purchasing a website domain name does not give you ownership of the business name. Domain names only give you the right to host a website at that address. Mere availability of a domain name does not mean you will not have an issue with an existing trademark.

Navigating the world of trademarks can be complex, but it’s essential for protecting your brand. As a Trademark Attorney, I’ve shared three key tips to help you understand the importance of trademarks for your business. If you have any questions or need guidance on how to safeguard your brand, please feel free to reach out to me, Shelby Hughes. I’m here to help you through the trademark process, ensuring your brand is well-protected and positioned for success.