A couple of times a year, I have to tell a client she has to re-brand her business because:
- a creative project or hobby turned into a business
- she didn’t realize the need to do a trademark search
- she wanted to capitalize on a trend
If you name your business something too close to someone else’s trademark, you’ll find out sooner or later. (Usually, in the form of a nasty lawyer-drafted cease and desist letter.)
And when it happens, you’ll have to re-brand. You’ll have to start over from scratch. You’ll have to rebuild brand recognition, business goodwill, and pretty much everything.
I’ve seen this happen more and more in the last few years, which is why in the new Legal Roadmap, making sure your business name won’t land you in hot water is the first task you complete as part of the Do “enough” legal stuff Map.
How you make sure your business name won’t land you in hot water is by doing a trademark search. It’s doing a little research to find out what other businesses are out there with similar names providing similar products or services.
Sadly, a trademark search isn’t a quick and easy process. In fact, I usually set aside an entire morning to do them. But they are the best way to assure you that you won’t have to change your business name once you finally start landing those big accounts or getting press mentions.
The reason these searches take so long is that you have to search three different places:
- the USPTO database
- a domain name database
- a web search (e.g. search via Google or DuckDuckGo)
And your search has to be for both exact business names and similar business names.
Rather than doing the search yourself (which can have a steep learning curve), you can hire me to do the trademark search for you.
What the process looks like
- Once your purchase is complete, you’ll be directed to a form to share information about the name you want me to research and what products and services you use it with.
- I’ll follow up with any questions and get started on researching
- Within five business days, I’ll email you a report of any registered (and unregistered) trademarks I found that might prevent you from using the name.
Note: I like to be generous with refunds, but refunds won’t be given if I’ve started researching.
Ready to know if your business (or product/service) name will land you in legal hot water?