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Guide To Protecting A Business Name < Business Articles By Mast Business Directory

Large corporates that are registered by the state pose a threat from the fictitious and misleading business names that are registered in the counties. A deep thought and understanding towards protecting your business name will ultimately lead you to only one conclusion i.e. the proper way to protect a business name is by using it. Since the same business names can exist in different states as well as different countries, registering a business name doesn’t really serve the purpose. The meaning is, you could be a million dollar company registered under a business name in some state of some country and the same business name can be used by some other business providing same service or product but registered in another state of the very same country. Thus corporations have to be very careful not only to legally develop a business name but also to protect it from fraudulent activities and misguiding. In the article to follow, we shall explore the various aspects of how to protect your business name from not getting spoilt in the market and establish the same goodwill throughout amongst the investors.

Legal consultation

First and foremost, when you develop a business name, it is essential to avail services from an attorney. Many corporations avoid paying huge amount of fees to attorneys and later end up in trouble. Advice taken from an attorney can save you loads of money compared to the threat you are exposed to due to falsified business names that are different but confuse the customers to be your aliases or branches.

Registration

If a business name is chosen such that it differs from your personal name, it is very important that you register that business name to ensure that the other businesses have no option but to choose a name that is different than yours. Thus registration is a force by law. The process of registration will also help you not get into legal troubles with your competitors who don’t want you to keep a name that increases competition in the market and thus poses a threat to other businesses. A small form to be filled and a small fee to be lend out; that’s all you need to do to get your business registered. The registration process could be done at the county level; in case you are looking out for the smallest unit in the hierarchy. If you are registering your business as a corporation but using a different business name that is easy and catchy, you need to declare the running or virtual business name as “done business as“, popularly termed as dba. For e.g. you are registering your shoes factory as XYZ corporation and using alias Bata shoe factory for marketing purposes.

Incorporating

Registration of a business name done with the Secretary of the State in that state that you have established your business is termed as Incorporating. This will bring to notice if any business is register under a close name or a confusingly similar name. It is your obligation to be called by the same business name throughout the state that you have registered your business in. You do not possess exclusive rights to the name because of various reasons such as any other form of business may be using the very same name for trade purposes. Ay confusion caused to the customer that is detected will immediately cease your registration to be called under the business name that you wish for. Governmental registers, telephone books, maybe even internet can be used widely to find out if a similar name for a business exists in your area nearby.

Registration Enhancements

The size of your business, the turnover and the extent of its geographical area determines if you need any additional name protection for your business. If you plan to expand into various states or different countries, it is advisable to conduct an extensive and exhaustive name search for existence of any other businesses under similar name. An option for a “trademark” always helps, though comes at a high degree of cost. The cost can be viewed as a better alternative to losing millions of dollars after finding out that you are made to stand in the court of law due to infringement of registration process. Trademarks are usually composed of two parts: the first part being a noun for e.g. biscuits and a word that is unique in the market for those lines of products e.g. Marie. Altogether you get your product/service name as Marie biscuits which are the only one that people know in the market. While using trademarks, you should not forget to capitalize the first letter of the product name, declare in your product advertising that you have exclusive rights to use that product name. Use the letter “R” with a circle around it to indicate your trademark and use the letters “TM” to indicate your ownership to the name. Do not hesitate to notify the other businesses through mass media about them not being able to use your business name ever.

Intellectual property rights management

Every business is set up with relative amounts of huge investments and a small mistake can turn the tables around. Ensure proper legal steps are available and taken care of. A trade name given to a business enforces Intellectual Property rights which states that any attempt to infringe or exploit a trade name can lead to proceedings in court. Intellectual property rights encourage creativity at individual/business level. It makes sure that a piece of music or a form of art or literary expressions are declared as original only once throughout its use and no one else uses the same without a prior permission or written consent.

Following are the predefined various intellectual properties that come with their own way of ensuring enforcement to abiding the laws:

Patent law

Patent laws ensure protection to mental creations especially inventions. Patent laws can be levied upon creation of drugs, automobiles, electronic devices, a piece of software code etc.

Copyright law

Copyright laws ensure that the interest s and the creativity of the authors, journalists and poets are protected. They mention that the laws should enforce re-creation of such ideas, but not without properly referencing the original form of work, its author etc. A citation citing the exact source of obtaining the original should be included in any literary or poetic form of art.

Trade Secret law

Trade secret laws ensure that the interests of the business owners are protected. Any confidential information that can cause adverse harm to any business should not be let out. Confidentiality and compliance issues are raised amongst the previous employees of the companies. These employees change the companies from one to other for better growth prospects. While doing so, they take with themselves innumerable risks of letting out confidential information to the new companies that they join. For e.g. a chef in a restaurant is prohibited from letting out recipes to people who do not belong to the restaurant. The same is applicable for a call center agent who can ruin the company by letting out client databases and information on credit cards or online accounts.

Trademark law

Trademark laws are for businesses that are well established in the market. Such businesses eventually develop a “brand name” which attracts the customer and hence boosts up sales. For example, we commonly name all photocopiers as “Xerox”. Hence we have a view that a photocopier machine is called Xerox. But this is not true. Xerox is actually a name of a company that manufactures such photocopiers. Since all photocopiers are called commonly as Xerox, the brand name of the Xerox Company is posing a threat of not being recognized and accredited.

Steps to protecting a business name

Please ensure that you go through the following steps to ensure that care is taken to protect a business name while your business is going to be named.

1) Go through an extensive name search of any businesses that might be posing a danger due to a new player in the market. You can use Government databases, registers, internet search engines etc.
2) Complete formalities of filling up the form on patent and trademark protection. These forms are available in person or departmental stores and these days, the procedure is online.
3) Start using the trade name for commercial purposes. Do it wisely and appropriately.
4) Await reply from trademark office.
5) Keep on renewing your trademark to ensure proper protection. Use letters/ symbols “TM” or “R” to make others notice your registration under that name.

Thus in the above article, we have explored various laws, techniques and steps to ensure no infringement of a business name occurs. We have seen the adverse consequences as to how an unprotected trade name can ruin a business, its reputation and goodwill. Note that putting a logo on your employees’ uniforms only isn’t enough to ensure that your trade name is not used by others. Make sure to use federal state laws which treat infringements with strictness.

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