Registering a trademark for a new business

Many entrepreneurs involved in a business start-up may pride themselves on attending to the myriad details of running a new venture. One thing that even the most conscientious entrepreneurs might overlook during business formation is the registering of a trademark. Having a registered trademark can help a start-up business increase its profile, gain clients or customers and prevent competitors from unfairly taking business away from a start-up company.

A trademark can be anything that members of the public associate with a specific business entity. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has registered trademarks for music, words and phrases, and scents. These trademarks are used on packaging, letterhead and other communication and advertising. The USPTO receives hundreds of thousands of trademark filings each year and registers less than two-thirds of these filings. They may decide not to register a trademark for a new business for several reasons.

A trademark may not be registered because it too closely resembles an existing or pending trademark. The USPTO also may decide not to register a trademark filing because it may cause confusion among the public. That is, the trademark does not clearly identify the type of business or the products or services offered by a business. A trademark filing may also not be registered because it merely describes products or services without clearly distinguishing the business entity from other businesses involved in the same trade.

An entrepreneur involved in a start-up company or business acquisition may wish to talk to an attorney about filing trademarks. An attorney can discuss the research needed to investigate existing or pending trademarks as well as regulatory compliance and other aspects of business formation.

Source: Entrepreneur, “Protect Your Business Name: Tips on How to Secure a Trademark (Infographic)“, Catherine Clifford, September 25, 2014

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