How to Trademark your business name

To run a successful brand in the 21st century, it is essential to have not only a registered company name but also a registered trademark of your company name. This will prevent others from misusing your brand and help protect your revenue from cyber theft.

Technological dependency, specifically after the pandemic, has surged to new heights. In the year 2021 alone, Global e-commerce sales were over 4.9 trillion dollars.

This blog aims to provide information on the significance of trademarks as well as the distinction between registering a company and registering a trademark. Later in this discussion, learn the process for filing for a trademark and measures that could be taken in case of application rejection.

How do Trademarks Work?

According to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), a trademark is ‘a sign capable of distinguishing the goods or services of one enterprise from those of other enterprises. Phrases, slogans, logos, shapes, colors, and sounds can all be trademarked.

Did you know that Nike has more than 200 trademarks registered, including the famous ‘swoosh’ logo and the slogan ‘just do it’? A DMCA takedown request can be filed for potential trademark infringement if any other brand uses these trademarks.

At this stage, it is important to mention that company registration is completely different from a company trademark registration, despite the fact that a company name can be trademarked.

Company registration is mandatory by statutory provisions to run a brand or be involved in any commercial activity by the government. Trademarks are not mandatory to file but help protect your brand from cyber crimes, including counterfeiting, infringements, and fraud.

While brand trademark registration is essential, it usually protects a service, product, or slogan for a particular class or category. Subsequently, a possibility exists where a business name cannot be trademarked, specifically in cases of genericide

Step-by-step Guide on Trademarking your Company Name

1. Register Your Brand Name

 As mentioned above, it is legally required to register a business in the jurisdiction your business is located in. For instance, if you have a sports shop in the UK, you need to register with the Companies House.

2. Conduct a Trademark Search

After deciding to proceed with brand trademark registration, do a free name search to make sure the name is available to trademark. Do a free name search to ensure the name is available to trademark in the country you want to register.

3. Select The Jurisdiction You Want to File the Trademark In

Trademarks are not universally accepted and only protect your brand from infringement in regions where your trademark is registered. 

For example, USPTO officially grants company trademark registration in the US. In the European Union, EUIPO manages all trademark applications.

4. Identify and Classify Your Goods or Services

After choosing the jurisdiction you want to file the trademark in, you need to pick and identify the category of goods or services the trademark will cover. You can register a trademark in multiple categories.

If you sell pianos and violins, pick the ‘musical instruments’ category (class 15).

Did you know that there are 45 different trademark classes? Browse through a complete list of international trademark classes and select the category you want to file the trademark in.

6. Fill Out The Application Form. 

You’re almost there!

An application form can be accessed and submitted online or via mail to the relevant Intellectual Property Office. In this step, you will need to provide information about your trademark, your business, and the goods and services you plan to use it in connection with. You will also need to pay the required fees.

7. Respond to Any Objections 

If there are any issues with your application, the trademark office that you applied in will notify and give you an opportunity to respond. 

How Long Does it Take to Register a Trademark?

Registering a trademark is a lengthy process that goes through multiple stages before getting approved or rejected. The processing time is not predetermined, can vary according to every case, and is different in each jurisdiction.

If you are an apparel brand with a unique logo and brand name registering for a brand trademark registration in the US, the USPTO can take anywhere between 12-18 months to process.

When your trademark is approved, a 30-day period starts where any public member who believes your registration can harm you can file a Notice of Opposition with the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB). 

Can My Trademark Application Get Rejected?

Unfortunately, YES.

Possible reasons for rejection includes it being too generic, merely descriptive or having the likelihood of causing confusion.

Here are some possible measures to take in case your trademark application fails.

  • You can file for a hearing request if you have doubts about a wrongful decision
  • Provide additional proof to support the legitimacy of your application
  • If there is an issue with the class category you choose, you can choose an alternative category that suits you better

Having your company name registered for trademark is important because it helps to protect your brand and distinguish your business from competitors. A trademark registration gives you exclusive rights to use your company name and logo to identify your goods and services in the marketplace. It also serves as a deterrent to others who may try to use a similar name or logo to confuse consumers or benefit from your hard-earned reputation. Finally, having a registered trademark can make it easier to enforce your rights if someone else infringes on your trademark. In short, a registered trademark is an essential tool for protecting and promoting your business.