How can I protect my business name through trademark law?
Your business’s name is of critical importance to your company’s success. Your name identifies your brand and signifies your reputation. If another company opens a business with a similar name, it could confuse customers and negatively impact your profits. Fortunately, there are several steps that Texas business owners can take to protect their business name, including registering their trademark or service mark and defending your mark from infringement.
Register Your Business Name in Texas
One of the first steps you should take towards protecting your business name is forming a business entity, such as an LLC or corporation. You will need to register your business entity with the Texas Secretary of State. All business entities must have a unique name. Registering your entity provides you with limited protection of your company name in the state of Texas.
Trademark Your Business Name
Federal trademark law can provide your business name with extensive protection on a national level. To be eligible for protection as a trademark or service mark, your name must meet two vital requirements: it must be distinctive and must not create a likelihood of confusion with any other registered trade or service marks. While you can acquire a trademark for your business by just using the mark, you will obtain far more protection by registering your trademark with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
Your trademark and service mark attorney will review your company name and assist you with the process of registering your mark. Registering your trademark can be a complex process and will require a thorough search of existing marks to ensure your trademark is unique and eligible for federal protection. Obtaining a registered trademark will take several months.
Once your mark has been registered, you will need to vigilantly protect your mark. If another company starts to use a business name that is substantially similar to yours, you can protect your trademark by filing an infringement action. As a trademark holder, you are legally presumed to be the trademark owner and entitled to its exclusive use. By trademarking your business name, you can rest assured that your mark is protected from competitors and your business has the greatest chance of achieving success.