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How Texas Business Owners Protect Their Business Name With Copyright & Trademark Protection

How Texas Business Owners Protect Their Business Name With Copyright & Trademark Protection

Your business’ name and brand are what distinguish you from the competition. When customers want your products and services, they look for your name and logo.

So how do you go about preventing other companies from choosing identical or similar names? In short, you need to trademark your business name and brand. 

And what about the name of the products and services you offer? That’s where trademarks also fall into place. 

To help you better understand, read on to learn our 6 tips for Texas business owners to protect their business names. 

How Texas Business Owners Protect Their Business Name

One of the first steps when creating a business is to form a business entity. First, decide which type of entity you want your business to be, such as a limited liability company (LLC), corporation, etc. Then, register your business entity and, if applicable its assumed name, with the Texas Secretary of State. 

At this phase, you need to understand that your business name does not yet have protection. Additionally, you have further steps to take to ensure that you are not encroaching on another entity’s protected status. 

1. Make Sure The Name Is Available

When you file your certificate of formation with your assumed name, you’re not only setting yourself up for success but also doing your due diligence. If there is another business with the same or similar name, then your records will provide contact information for them to get in touch with you. While this, in the end, can lead to another company giving your desired name the ax, it could also help you. If it turns out that you submitted your certificate of formation before them, then you could win the right to use the name. These decisions are made by priority.

The Tried & True Google Search

To make sure your business name is available, you need to do your research. First, do an extensive Google search. This means combing through the first ten pages (at least) to see if any other business is operating under the name. 

USPTO Search

Then, do a search through the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Between Google and USPTO, you’ll do a basic knock-out search of businesses to ensure that none share the name you want to use. 

Check Social Media

In this digital age, it’s important to always check social media for any competing business names. Plus, it will be good to see how other companies are marketing themselves anyways. For instance, if there is a similar business with a similar name in Florida, it may not prevent you from using the same name but could cause problems during trademark registration..2. Understand What The Trademark Covers

While both are important, the brand is not the name. The brand represents the company and needs to stand on its own. Check to see if both your business name and brand are available when doing your research. Get an attorney to help you get a trademark for both. Dove chocolate and Dove soap have the same brand name; however, they are in different markets. Therefore, their names do not infringe on the other’s trademark.

Need help navigating trademarks? Contact us to speak about protecting your business name.

2. Understand What The Trademark Covers

While both are important, the brand is not the name. The brand represents the company and needs to stand on its own. Check to see if both your business name and brand are available when doing your research. Get an attorney to help you get a trademark for both. Dove chocolate and Dove soap have the same brand name; however, they are in different markets. Therefore, their names do not infringe on the other’s trademark.

Need help navigating trademarks? Contact us to speak about protecting your business name.

3. Stop Copycats In Their Sly Tracks

Once you have your corporate registration, web domain, variations of domain names, and more, it’s time to cut off copycats. 

As you build your brand, make it clear what space your business will take up. This is because two outside companies may actually be able to use the same or similar name. But if both are operating under the same name in the same area of business, then problems can arise. 

Have your attorney submit a notice of use before you brand an entire commercial space. If necessary, you may need to amend the name once you start to use it. 

4. Submit Your Trademark Application 

To avoid any interference from companies with similar or identical names, submit your trademark application as soon as possible. While time frame limits mostly apply to foreign entities, you want to avoid as many hassles as you possibly can. 

Once applications are submitted, they go in for initial review. Don’t be caught off guard if it’s not immediately approved. We’ve submitted numerous applications, and only two were approved in the first round. This is why it’s important to speak with a trademark attorney to make sure everything is in order for the first go-round. 

Copyright or Trademark?

Which application do you submit? The Broadway show Hamilton is a good example of understanding why some things warrant a trademark while others don’t. Originally, it was just a work of art and could not be trademarked. The play and lyrics are protected by copyright. However, now it’s a non-profit, artist retreat, and multiple other things. It has become a brand that qualifies for a trademark.

Are you unsure of what needs a trademark and what needs a copyright? With the Carson Law Firm, you’ll be in good hands to help you understand. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.

5. Get Your Advertising In Order 

The first step to properly advertising is to identify your brand and differentiate your product or service. Now, you need to focus on advertising what you are selling. 

For instance, a studio that sells its designs will trademark the company. However, if that studio sells a coffee mug designed in-house, then that product needs a copyright. Procuring a copyright for your products is quite simple. An attorney isn’t mandatory for this process but can help nonetheless. 

6. Trademark & Copyright Protections

Different from copyrights, trademarks are more complicated and usually do require the help of an attorney. 

For instance, your trademark may have federal protections which grant you access to federal courts when defending your brand name. If someone is making knock-offs in another country and importing them, customs and border patrol have the authority to seize the copies upon entry into the United States. Domestic copycats can be sent takedown notices through cease and desist letters. 

 

An interesting copyright infringement issue is celebrities reposting photographs taken by paparazzi, and then being sued for copyright infringement. While the celebrity is the subject of the photography- the copyright rests with the person who took the photo- the paparazzi. A celebrity cannot use a photo of themselves without a license. There are interesting, and valid, arguments regarding the tactics of getting the photograph, but this is a prime example of why it is important to ensure that you are only using photos that you either took or have a valid license for.  . 

Get Ahead Of The Game With Copyright & Trademark Protection

At the end of the day, you need to protect your assets to make sure you are protecting your revenue stream. 

Without protections in place, your creative career may as well be a hobby. This is where we come in. The Carson Law Firm believes that everyone deserves fair legal representation, no matter where you are in your business journey. Reach out today to schedule a consultation to get your business in good standing.