When starting your pet care or pet-related business, you will want to be sure to choose a business name that will identify your company’s products and services. Naming your business is an important branding exercise, but if you choose to name your business as anything other than your own personal name then you’ll need to register it with the appropriate authorities.
Once you choose your business name, how do you find out if the proposed business name is available and how do you protect the name?
There are three important first steps to choosing business name, to protect your future business name and ensure that you are not infringing on another persons hard work.
1) Ask Tess
before registering your domain name or filing your Fictitious Business name. The United States Patent and trademark office has Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS).
What is a trademark or service mark?
A trade mark is generally a word, phrase, symbol, or design, or a combination thereof, that identifies distinguishes the source of the goods of one party from those of others.
A service mark is the same as a trademark, except that it identifies and distinguishes the source of a service rather than goods. Throughout this booklet, the terms “trademark” and “mark” refer to both trademarks and service marks.
A trademark (service mark) typically protects brand names and logos used on goods and services.
Once you determine that you have a business name chosen that does not infringe on someone else’s trademark right you can proceed to check if the domain name is available.
* If you’re operating a business in the United States, Canada, or England, it’s not necessary to file. “You don’t need to do anything to acquire trademark rights other than use your trademark in connection with your goods or services. You automatically get those rights,” says Michael Atkins, a Seattle-based trademark lawyer.
* So what’s the point of federal and state trademark registrations? Again, it comes down to looking into your business’ future. Josh Spiro Inc Magazine
with a domain name registrar does not give you any trademark rights. For example, even is you register a certain domain name with a domain register, you could later be required to surrender it if it infringes someone else’s trademark rights.
Anyone who wishes to acquire a domain name can purchase one if someone else hasn’t beaten them and claimed that particular domain name. All you need to do is find a local registrar select one of the available domain names, and pay a fee for the activation of the domain and website.
It is also very important to keep in mind that until a domain name has been paid for and claimed, nobody “owns” it per-say. In reality, no domain name is ever really owned, rather they are leased for usually 1 to 3 years, and will require re-registration or extension and further payments in order to keep the domain registered in your name. Unless you are required to surrender the domain name.
3) File a Fictitious Business Name is a “Doing Business As” Name.
Fictitious Business Name Statements are required to ensure that consumers have access to the true name and address of the owners of a business.
Getting the name registered is important as it can help protect you from misuse of your name by unauthorized parties.
Registering your DBA is done either with your county clerk’s office or with your state government, depending on where your business is located. There are a few states that do not require the registering of fictitious business names. Not all states require a Fictitious Business Name.
“…the owner of a trademark (servicemark) must have clearly established possession of that trademark (servicemark), or have gotten the trademark (servicemark) registered. This shows ownership of a trademark (servicemark)” Laws.com
Choosing a business name is one of the most important steps in starting a business. The name represents the business’s brand and reputation. As a result, safeguarding it from use by others is important in maintaining the integrity of the name and brand. While registering your business with local and state authorities should prevent others from using the name in your area, only a trademark offers legal recourse against someone using the name anywhere in the United States. Leslie Truex
For online protection of your business, name, and profits, it is a good idea to first visit TESS and do your research before filing a fictitious business name and acquiring a domain name before spending time branding your name!
A logo is your graphic representation of your business, and it can be your clients’ way of having a visual mental representation of your brand’s name. Is your company Logo protected?
I look forward to hearing from you.