Do I need a trademark? This question often pops up in my DMs or inbox when a new entrepreneur has been browsing some of our resources on Instagram, our blog, or simply found us online and started to wonder what a trademark is. It’s a valid question. As much as we wish there was a tidy handbook for starting a business, there’s not. Instead, we have Google and that’s often where budding entrepreneurs spend time researching as they consider options for starting up a dream. Now, we cannot lay out every possible answer for all the business-related questions out there. (I wish we could!) But, here’s some good news. We are trademark experts and can lay out every answer to common business questions for trademarks.
So, without further ado, here’s a tidy handbook to reference if you’re wondering, “do I need a trademark?”
DO I NEED A TRADEMARK IF I JUST HAVE A BUSINESS IDEA I WANT TO WORK ON IN THE FUTURE?
The general answer depends on how serious you are about this idea. If it’s a bit of a far-off adventure and you’re still not sure if you’re doing it, then no, you do not need a trademark. Now, if you are serious about this idea, see it as viable in your market, and are actively working to bring your idea to life, then you do need a trademark. Why? Well, trademarking your brand’s name, slogan, and logo before you launch means that when you go public, no one can steal your thunder by copying you.
If you’re in this situation, check out these blog posts to learn more:
What Should A Business Trademark?
How To Pick A Strong Brand Name
Legal Steps You Should Take Before Launching A Product
DO I NEED A TRADEMARK IF I’M RUNNING A SERVICE-BASED BUSINESS UNDER MY OWN NAME?
Oh, we love this question! We hear this frequently from new clients who work in the event and coaching industry. The answer is yes, you do. Here’s why: If your name is similar to a larger company’s name and they have trademarked their name, the company can send you a cease and desist letter demanding that you stop operating under your name and only use your name for personal matters.
This can be devastating to a small, service-based business. But with a trademark? You can push back! For example, we had a client who worked as an event planner, and her business was under her name. Her name also happened to sound similar to ELLE Magazine. Guess what? ELLE Magazine’s attorneys took notice of that and despite our client’s many years in business, tried to get her to stop operating under her own name.
Because our client’s name was trademarked for her business, we acted on behalf of our client and got ELLE Magazine to back down, leaving her business unharmed.
Most service-based businesses operate under the assumption that a larger corporation won’t pay attention to them but if you have any sort of online presence, it’s very simple for a large corporation to notice you. (Especially if your business names are in any way similar!)
DO I NEED A TRADEMARK IF I’VE BEEN IN BUSINESS FOR SEVERAL YEARS ALREADY?
Yes, absolutely. It’s never too late to trademark your brand’s name, slogan, and logo. The sooner the better, so if you’re just realizing the importance of brand security, why don’t you schedule a complimentary consultation with us so we can discuss what would serve you best?
TO WRAP IT UP…
If you’re taking active steps to bring a business to life or are already running a business, you do need to trademark your brand’s name, slogan, and logo if you value brand security. Being an entrepreneur can come with many headaches, let’s make safeguarding your digital goldmine a priority so you have confidence moving forward.
*This post is for general education and does not initiate an attorney-client relationship with us. We always recommend consulting a trademark attorney for your brand’s specific needs.*