Registered Business Name Vs. Trademark: What’s the Real Difference?

by | Mar 10, 2022 | Business Financing, Financial Advice, Insights To Business, Small Business Cash Flow

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You’re ready to open your business. All you need is a name that is unique and memorable. The ideal name will identify your business and also be something that sticks in the mind of your customers. A solid name will also lay the foundation for your brand. With the right name, you can establish your business with the public and start to build a solid following. Incorporating a trademark ensures that the business entity and any slogans remain under your control. It will separate you from your competitors.

Business Name Basics

Your business name is your identifier. In order to ensure that no one can come in and use your business name, you will need to register it with the your state. Every state has guidelines that you must follow when registering your business name. Every state has a list of words that cannot be used in a business name. Most states will also require that you include the structure of your business in its name. This includes LLC and Corp. You will want to do your research prior to filing for your business name so that you know it is available and that you can use it in your state.

Applying for Your Business Name

When applying for your business name, you will want to request an EIN (Employer Identification Number). You will need to know the structure of your business. Is it going to be an LLC, a corporation, a partnership, or sole proprietorship. Apply for a DBA (Doing Business As) within your state to secure that name for your business. This will protect the name and prevent others from using it without your knowledge.

Trademark Basics

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) approves trademarks as identifiers for businesses. Trademarks can include a word, design, symbol, or phrase that separates one business from another. A business name with a specific logo is an identifiable trademark that will brand your business. Trademarks are recognizable and honored by both state and federal governments. Applying for a trademark protects your business name, logo, slogan, or design from unauthorized use by someone outside of your company.

How to Trademark Your Business Name

Applying for a trademark is more complicated than applying for the name of your business. You will need to submit several things with your application. A special/standard character form, an accurate list of goods and services, the filing fee, and a trademarked “specimen” will be required. The specimen can be a marketing tool of some kind that bears the logo that is to be trademarked. You will need to select the correct classification for your trademark. There are 45 separate and distinct classifications to choose from. There is no business name vs trademark. They support each other in marketing your business. Securing your business name is just the first step. After you receive your trademark, you will need to maintain it and use it appropriately. Occasionally, you will be required to prove use and provide samples of how the trademark is being used. Trademarks need to be renewed every ten years to maintain ownership. Registering your business name and applying for a trademark are important steps to take if you want to protect your business and its branding.