- Come up with a distinct name and brand ✔️
- Register your business with the Secretary of State Office ✔️
- Claim a web domain ✔️
- Apply for a trademark ✔️
Patenting a Brand Name – Trademark and Copyright
Trademarking your business name makes it your intellectual property. Exclusive rights to a name prevents other companies from using your business name. However, trademark registration is also costly, and requires regular updates.
Copyrights can be applied to original and individual work, so technically you can’t copyright your business name. You don’t have to copyright your logo if you trademark it.
How to Patent a Name for a Business – Registering a Trademark
Patenting a brand name is a long process, and can be done through the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). This is how to patent a name for a business:
- Come up with a unique and original name that is not currently being used by another company.
- Apply for a trademark.
- Pay applicable fees.
The Importance of Name Search Before Trademarking a Business Name
Invest your time into making sure your name is unique. You should conduct a thorough search of state and federal trademark databases, as well as search for common law trademark rights. Similar business names will confuse potential customers, and sabotage trademark applications.
What Does a Trademark Application Look Like?
Here’s what the registration process looks like:
- Registering your trademark can take up to a year and a half.
- The cost of a registration varies depending on the class of products or services that you are registering for, but it typically costs around $350 per class of goods or services.
- You also need to determine your filing basis, which is the grounds on which you are making your claim for the trademark.
Why Would the USPTO Reject Your Logo or Brand Name?
Even if you think your application is perfect, the USPTO may reject it if:
- the mark is generic and/or descriptive;
- the mark if it is too similar to an existing registered trademark, or it is likely to cause confusion with another mark (trademark infringement);
- the mark is considered scandalous or immoral.
The rejection does not prevent the applicant to resubmit the application with revisions.
Editor’s TipThe USPTO will provide reasons for rejection of your application. Carefully analyze them, and change your new application accordingly before reapplying.
Other Ways to Protect Your Business Name
It’s good to know how to patent a name for a business, but we should also discuss the alternative ways to protect your brand. One is to register it with the Secretary of State Office, which is a compulsory step, anyway.
Another way is to claim a web domain with your business name, which will prevent others from using it online. Lastly, you should check the DBA databases regularly to ensure that no one else is using your name (even if not “officially”).
In general, it’s always good to check if any business name similar to yours is taken. Stay alert, and make yourself more reconizable than them!
Frequently Asked Questions
Yay! You’ve learned how to patent a name for a business! But if you have any doubts, here are some common questions and answers:
How Much Does It Cost to Patent a Business Name?
It typically costs anywhere between $200 and $500 to patent a business name, depending on state laws.
Do You Patent or Trademark a Name?
The terms are often used interchangeably, but you TRADEMARK a name, not patent it. Trademark registration gives you exclusive rights over a name or logo with regard to selling goods or services; patents safeguard inventions like ideas, designs and processes.
How Do I Patent My Business Name for Free?
It is not possible to patent a business name for free. Depending on the type of company, you may have to cover costs for domain registration, LLC/corporation formation, logo and name copyrighting or trademark registrations with USPTO (that’s where the patent comes in!).
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