When growing your coaching or online business, one of the most exciting and important decisions you'll need to make is whether to trademark the names of your business and signature programs.
For most business owners the answer to whether you need a trademark is YES.
A trademark is an uber-valuable legal tool that offers protection for your brand identity and helps distinguish your products or services from those of competitors. Plus it’s something that you OWN.
However, like any business decision, trademarking comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. So let’s look at the pros and cons of trademarking your business name to help you decide if now is the right time for you!
The GOOD of Trademarking Your Business Name
→ Legal Protection and Exclusive Rights: One of the BIGGEST benefits of trademarking your business name is the legal protection it provides. By registering your trademark, you get exclusive rights to use that name in connection with your products or services within your industry.
This prevents others from using a similar name that could confuse customers and potentially harm your brand's reputation.
→ Brand Recognition and Trust: A trademarked business name helps build brand recognition and trust. When potential clients or customers see your trademark - meaning that ® - they know you are taking your brand and intellectual property seriously and that helps convert people.
→ Increased Value: Trademarks can add significant value to your business aka they are a business ASSET. In the future, if you decide to sell your business, having a trademarked name is almost a non-negotiable, it makes your brand more appealing to potential buyers, potentially leading to a higher valuation.
→ Infringement Protection: If someone attempts to use a name that's similar to your trademark, you have legal grounds to protect your brand. Owning the trademark allows you to take legal action against other businesses that may be infringing on your mark!
The BAD of Trademarking Your Business Name
→ Moolah: This is probably the biggest negative (there really aren’t many downsides to this!) but registering a trademark involves an investment, including application fees and an attorney (because that’s really the way to go if you want to get this done correctly). And there are ongoing renewal fees to maintain your trademark rights. This could be why trademarks may not be something a brand new business can do right away but it’s definitely something growing brands should consider!
→ Complexity and Time: The trademark registration process can be a big ole’ pain and time-consuming. There are 45 different classes of trademarks and you need to pick the right ones for your business, create the proper specimen and fill out the application correctly. Lots of room for error, THIS is why you want someone (HI!) who knows the process to handle it for you!
→ Trademark Monitoring and Enforcement: Once your trademark is registered, you're responsible for monitoring and enforcing it. This means keeping an eye on potential infringements and taking legal action if necessary.
The UGLY of Trademarking Your Business Name
→ You change names: This isn’t necessarily UGLY, just more sad. I’ve had a few clients who invest money and time (over a year) to get a trademark and then 6 months later decide to pivot their business/name. It can suck but it does happen. This is why prior to beginning the process you just want to be REALLY sure that you plan to use this name in your business for years to come.
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There you have it! The good, the bad and the ugly of trademarking your business or brand name. If you have any questions on this or want support in the process, check out our Full-Service Trademark Package HERE.