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Topic: do I have to trademark/copyright a business name if it's registered?  (Read 1070 times)
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the wooley duck
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« on: July 24, 2005 06:42:34 PM »

My sister and I are working on starting up a partnership craft business. We have a name and some products ready, all we lack finishing the business plan and partnership contract, then we'll get the business registered and get our license. But I'm having a bit of trouble finding out about trademarking things. If we register our business and therefore register our business name do we also have to trademark that name? Or would we only need to trademark product line names and business slogans? Would we need to copyright it rather than trademark it?

Has anyone else trademarked/copyrighted something? How much is it? I was reading somewhere that it was upwards of $300...is that accurate or was I misunderstanding it?

(I'm also wondering about partnership info but I guess that's another topic.)

« Reply #1 on: July 25, 2005 11:34:25 AM »

you don't have to trademark anything....it's all only if you want to..

[ Tenika M. ]
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the wooley duck
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« Reply #2 on: July 25, 2005 11:44:19 AM »

Well, I know, but I want us to fully own the name. I'd rather not have to deal with any sort of legal dispute down the road should someone use it for anything craft related and I'd rather us not lose the name if someone should decide they like it and then trademark it themselves. I don't know that anyone would even ever try as it's pretty original and really rather un-related to crafts but I prefer to cover all my bets when it comes to the business world.

lex fiend
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« Reply #3 on: July 25, 2005 12:16:23 PM »

you're going to want to get a DBA "doing business as", which is something you register (i think) with the county, and that's basically saying that YOU are the business...  so if someone writes a check to "the craft bucket" or whatever your business name is, that means the check is yours.  i think they might charge a small fee.  10-20 bucks or so. 

here are some tips from Nolo.com

Will Your Business Name Receive Trademark Protection?

Trademark law will prevent another business from using a name or logo that is likely to be confused with your business name if your business name is entitled to trademark protection. If your business is anything but a small, local, service, or retail business, such as a dry cleaners or a fabric store, you'll probably want to take advantage of this.
Registering your name as a trademark in your state can help prevent another business in the same state from using a name that's likely to be confused with your business name. But if you plan to market your service or product in more than one state -- or across territorial or international borders -- it's wise to file an application for federal trademark protection as well. Registering your business name with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office puts the rest of the country on notice that the name is already taken, and it makes it easier to defend your name against would-be infringers.

How do I apply for federal trademark registration?

You can file your trademark application online at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) website by using the Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS). You can also call the USPTO for a paper form, but the USPTO cautions that paper forms will not be processed as quickly, and paper applications cost $50 more to file.

To begin the electronic registration process, go to the USPTO website (www.uspto.gov). On the home page, click the "Trademarks" link, and then, on the next screen, click "FILE online."

if you go to nolo's site, you can find lots more info on laws relating to small businesses.  also, you might want to check out one of their books at the library (or buy one).  they come with a CD rom with all sorts of sample forms and stuff.   

the wooley duck
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« Reply #4 on: July 25, 2005 12:59:20 PM »

So, since I register my dba with the county that means it will only keep businesses from using that name in my county and not anywhere else. Since it's an online business that means I would need to trademark it not only to protect the name from being used in a different craft related context but also from being used as a business name by anyone else in the US. Right?

I think I worded the question wrong originally. I wasn't sure if by registering the business name that meant that no one else could register it as a business name and so it was protected as far as that went or if I had to trademark it so that only we could use it as the name of a business.
But I think, if I'm reading everything right, that either multiple people can register the same name as their dba even in the same county or that registering a business only protects it from being used in that county. (Which is it, by the way?) And that it's whoever registers the trademark to it that is the person who has the full legal rights to the name and the ability to keep others from using it.

Man, I hope I made that make sense this time. I think I have brain fry from all the legal jargon.

« Reply #5 on: June 17, 2006 10:40:32 AM »

Registering a business as a DBA, an LLC, a Corporation, etc., will not convey trademark protection. You will need to file a trademark registration application with either the USPTO or your state, depending on the scope of protection you are looking for.

I think that's what you're looking for?
« Reply #6 on: June 20, 2006 06:10:18 AM »

Yes, that's right.  Registering your name as a DBA only secures that name for you in your county.  If you are only an online shop, you might want to do the copywrite/ trademark thing, but I really don't know much about that.  What I did was google the name of my business and see what came up.. there are a few online sites that also use my name, but they are completely different things than mine, so I wasn't concerned.  On the other hand, if you can get your business name as your domain, ie.  www.yourname.com, than it is yours.  No one else can have  that domain no matter where they are.  BUT, someone could get www.yourname.tv or www.yourname.net, or something like that..
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