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Should I trademark my upcoming business name?

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No.

Your business name is the legal name of your business. This is not your brand.

While your brand might be the same or similar to your business name, it doesn’t have to be.

I’ve seen people trademark business names with the “inc.” and all, and this is just so wrong.

Your trademarks protect a brand that you attach to goods (or a service mark used in providing services), and the trademark identifies your business as the source of those goods.

A registered trademark protects your brand by preventing others from using confusingly similar trademarks.

I caution entrepreneurs to establish their company and to register it with their secretary of state before filing for a trademark registration.

Then, the company, a separate legal entity, can file for and own its trademark (not the individual entrepreneur).

If you have a bona fide intent to use a trademark or service mark, you may file an application to register the trademark or service mark after you have formed your company or corporation that will own the trademark or service mark.

Also, I caution entrepreneurs to conduct due diligence on their marks. Check to see what your competitors are doing. Make sure that your marks are distinctive (i.e. different than anybody else’s marks) before using or registering the marks.

About the Author

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I'm Chris Paradies, a Florida Bar certified intellectual property Attorney and U.S. Reg. Patent Attorney, founder of Paradies® law and creator of the IPscaling process. I chair the board of directors for the Tampa Bay Innovation Center and serve as a facilitator helping small business owners get started right. I work hard as an advocate for small businesses and have received awards and recognition for support of small business economic development and leadership in technology. I'm a West Point graduate, U.S. Army veteran and entrepreneur. I'm not afraid to stand up and say that the Big Law model is broken and doesn't serve entrepreneurs well. Some of the alternatives are even worse! This is a market ripe for disruptive change. And I'm willing to take the lead. Join me!


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