READ: 4 Minutes
Your company’s name is one of your most powerful branding assets. Most consumers buy from brands that they can trust. A negative event can cause customers to lose that trust. On the other hand, a small business can use its name to create a uniquely powerful brand in the market. Other businesses may steal your brand name to reach out to your customers. Therefore, safeguarding your company name should be a priority.
1. Search Trademark database to ensure your name isn’t taken
Everyone starting a business should search the trademark database to determine if the name they are planning to use has already been registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). No matter the size of your business, do not skip this crucial step. Using an already registered trademark can lead to a willful infringement lawsuit, which carries more severe penalties than other types of trademark violations. Check both the federal and state trademark databases.
2. Trademark the company name to keep others from using it
After you have identified a company name suitable for your business and is not yet registered by USPTO, the next step is registration. Register your company name and trademark it to establish ownership of and rights to use it nationwide. Trademarks will protect your business from intellectual property theft and misuse. They also give you a legal avenue to sue would-be copycats, as well as anyone hoping to damage your business reputation.
3. Get your name out there
Now that your business is registered, it is time to popularize your company name with your customers. You can use the company name to brand your products alongside other identifying elements. Establish your presence by using your company name online and on the products that you are offering. Use the ® in your products to let your customers and competitors notice your presence. The more you use your brand name, the more you will create a positive association between brand and product for customers.
4. Make sure all of your marketing materials have your company name on them
All printed and and digital marketing materials prominently display your brand name. This includes paper assets, such as flyers, brochures, posters, and event programs as well as your online presence, such as blog posts, social media graphics, and slide presentations. This further cements the positive association between brand and product
5. Monitor online search results for your company name to make sure no one else is using it
Set up Google alerts and social media management tools to inform you when your business name is mentioned. This will make it easier for you to identify any illegal use of your company’s name, as well as allowing you to participate in any social media discussions about your brand and your product..
6. Take action against anyone who uses your Trademarks without permission
When you identify anyone using your trademark without permission, send them a cease-and-desist letter that explains your ownership of the trademark, and the consequences for disregarding that trademark. You can ask your attorney to create a cease-and-desist letter for you.
Have questions? Want to know more?
Reach out! At IMA, we’re here to help safeguard your future!
If you have any questions concerning protecting your company name or information on getting insurance for your small business, please contact an IMA Select representative in your area.