A big part of Destination Legal’s mission is empowering coaches and online business owners to protect their brands and the main way that we do this is through registering trademarks. We’ve done hundreds to date!
Trademarks are an essential tool for business owners looking to protect their brand and reputation and for those looking to build a strong portfolio of Intellectual Property (IP).
Registering your business name (or course name or program name or retreat name) as a trademark can prevent others from using your name and it can also give you legal protection if someone does try to use your brand without your permission.
However, trademarking is a big time and $$$ investment so before taking that step, there are some important questions you should ask yourself. Read on my friend! (note - I may use “business name” here but really I mean any service or program name you would want to own).
QUESTION 1: IS YOUR NAME UNIQUE?
Before you can trademark your business name, you need to make sure that it's not already in use by someone else. Conducting a thorough search of existing trademarks at USPTO.GOV and domain names is a great first step in the process. I would also check social media and google it. IF you find that someone in your industry is using it and has the trademark (®) - it’s a good idea to stop and change it. If you don’t, you’re at risk of getting a Cease & Desist for Trademark Infringement.
QUESTION 2: IS YOU NAME TOO DESCRIPTIVE?
Trademark law only protects names that are unique and distinct. If your business name is too descriptive of what you do (e.g. "The Coffee Shop" that sells coffee), it may be difficult to trademark, and you may have a harder time defending your brand.
QUESTION 3: ARE THERE ANY SIMILAR NAMES IN YOUR INDUSTRY?
With trademarks the names don’t have to be EXACT matches, but similar enough that it could cause confusion. Even if your business name is unique and distinct, there may be similar names in your industry. This can cause confusion for customers and make it more difficult for you to stand out. As stated above, make sure to research other businesses in your industry to see if there are any similar names.
If you find that there ARE similar names in your industry, it's important to evaluate whether they could potentially cause a trademark conflict. Consider factors such as the similarity of the names, the products or services offered, and the geographic regions in which the businesses operate. (AND you can always reach out to us for help!)
QUESTION 4: DO YOU PLAN TO EXPAND YOUR BUSINESS?
When trademarking your business name, it's important to consider whether you plan to expand your business into new products or services in the future. If so, you may want to consider trademarking multiple names to give your brand more comprehensive legal protection.
Plus if you are considering selling your business or a part of your business (e.g., a certification or course) then you ABSOLUTELY need to have that trademarked. You will have a much harder time trying to sell your business without owning the IP and being able to transfer that as a business asset.
QUESTION 5: ARE YOU READY TO MAKE THE INVESTMENT?
Trademarking your is an investment of $1,250 - $4,000 depending on who you work with, so it's important to factor in the costs when making your decision. The fees associated with trademark registration can also vary depending on how many classes or protection and the scope of the trademark.
If you want to learn more about the trademark process, download our free trademark roadmap HERE.
By asking yourself these questions, you can make an informed decision about whether trademarking your business name is the right choice for your business. Taking the time to research and evaluate your options can help you protect your brand and ensure your business's long-term success. AND if you are ready to trademark, we are here to help! Check out Destination Legal’s full service trademark package HERE.