Have you ever wondered if you should trademark your business name? One of the first steps you take when you are starting your business is choosing a name. SUPER important and best practice is to spend time on it! You don’t just want to throw any name on your shingle and hang it out, because you might be making an unwise choice (at best) and a choice that will get you into legal trouble (at worst).
Choosing Your Business Name
“A rose by any other name would smell as sweet” ~ William Shakespeare
Not in this case friends! You can end up with a really stinky name that does not do you any favors moving the needle on the growth of your business.
There are several considerations when choosing a name that we reference in the above video:
- Can you use your personal name in your business name?
- Should you use your location in your business name?
- Should you put “Pet Sitting” or “Dog Walking” in your business name?
- What about using numbers and words that aren’t common?
- What about using a common name in the industry?
Can You Trademark Your Name?
There is a lot of due diligence to see if your name can be protected. You certainly want to check with your local and state governments to make sure your name is available (usually knows as a Fictitious Name Registration).
It is a completely different animal if you want to federally register your business name (protect it from any other business using that name and slap the ® after it). My advice is to use an attorney to ensure things are done correctly (from experience, friends!).
You can do a preliminary search for your chosen business name on the US Patent and Trademark Office TESS (Trademark Electronic Search System)
Don’t skimp on trademarking your business if you have future growth plans! Rebranding is costly down the road if you are approached by an attorney Cease and Desist letter for Trademark Infringement!
Janie founded 4-Legged Kids, Inc in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1997 and provides education through her PetBizHIVE podcast and her PetBizMBA membership and courses. She is a Certified Professional Animal Care Operator, Fear Free certified and a Certified Professional Pet Sitter. Learn more about the Founder, Janie Budnick.