You’ve chosen the right company name, you’ve established your brand, and business is running smoothly, right? Well, if you haven’t trademarked your brand name, you may find your business crashing down before your eyes. All it takes is another person trademarking your name or something just like it for you to become infringing on their brand illegally.
This happens to companies all of the time, unexpectedly finding out that they were infringing on someone else’s trademarked name that they had themselves created. While you could fight for it, you may find it more cost effective to rebrand instead. Don’t find yourself in the predicament of a stolen business name; get your business name trademarked and protect yourself from an expensive mess.
How do business names get stolen?
The way that people get their business names stolen is by neglecting to trademark them. The differences come in when it comes to how the business owner finds out about this happening and the options they have to handle the predicament.
It turns out that that is a common problem that has happened to many people before. For example, a company out of Indiana called The Tax Honey run by owner Lori Brooks, once found themselves in the situation where another person was trying to steal the brand and business name. Due to Facebook advertising, this other person learned of the name and tried to make it their own by adding a “the” to it in marketing.
Brooks had owned the company since 2009 while this person was trying to take it 5 years later despite Brooks’ efforts in coming up with it. While Brooks found herself in this predicament that trademarking could have prevented, she did decide to fight the person and avoid rebranding.
Along with people learning about your brand name through your marketing efforts, you can get your name stolen where you only find out about it when you try to start social media pages for your brand. Another example comes from the creator of a web design and content management business who found out their name had been taken when having their Facebook business page shutdown by the site. Being told by Facebook that the page infringed on someone else’s trademark was the only way this business owner realized that their trademark had been stolen. Rather than trying to fight this person for the brand name, this company used it as an opportunity to rebrand to an even better name.
How much would it cost to trademark my business name?
If you decide to trademark your business, you’ll be looking at costs that vary depending on your needs. Some people will hire a lawyer which involves legal fees, others will choose to file the paperwork on their own, and some people consider the time that this costs in the expense of doing this. There is a learning curve and time spent reading up on the subject for those that decide to do it themselves.
You can end up with initial costs of up to $325 with as low as $225 for your filing fees with the US Patent and Trademark Office. Additional fees come in with the amount of classes or products you register, renewal costs according to their schedule, and then other miscellaneous fees that could bring your total up to closer to $1k.
Protect yourself from lost business and a legal battle
While it may seem frustrating that people can just steal brand names and that you have to spend money to call it your own, it’s important to protect your brand and avoid a legal battle or lost business. You’ve likely spent a long time coming up with your unique name and business model, which means protecting it from outsiders is all the more important. When you find someone using your name after you’ve protected it, you can have your lawyer send a cease and desist letter t anyone infringing on your rights.
You don’t want your customers trying to do business with another person with the assumption that they were working with you. You could end up losing clients that go with another brand pretending to be you, or having your reputation hurt because the person pretending to be your brand didn’t fulfill promises to your customers. You could also find yourself missing out on customers while you find yourself fighting over your brand name that someone is trying to steal because you haven’t trademarked it yet.
Whether you decide to register it now, register later while you wait till you’re bringing in more income, or you end up having to rebrand because you waited too long to trademark, just make sure that you build relationships with your clients that will be strong enough to stay with you no matter what you call your brand.