Protect Your Business...( Helpful Hints Inside)

Business By snarkybaker Updated 17 Jul 2009 , 1:39am by sweet-thing

snarkybaker Posted 16 Jul 2009 , 12:58am
post #1 of 17

So, those of you who own a business or are contemplating opening one, here is a quick tip. Apply for a trademark!! You can register your business with the state and that only protects you from someone creating a business with the EXACT name. It is completely different from someone advertising and selling their services with your business name. That is legal.

We have had the name Sugarland LLC registered with the state for years. We own the websites Sugarland bakery, sugarland cakes, sugarland desserts, cakes by sugarland and about a dozen others.

Imagine my surprise when a friend of my husband called to ask us when we decided to open another locations a couple of hours away. He had seen a sign for " Sugarland Bakery -Opening Soon". in his local strip mall.

http://jennssugarlandbakery.com/

We called the owner as a courtesy to let her know we owned the name and before she spent money on signs and advertising etc., she should change her name....Holy Sh**t! icon_mad.gif you should have heard the language from this little biscuit. She explained that she named her bakery after the band cause she really liked them and there was no f - ing way she was changing her name blah blah blah...

Well, luckily a neighbor of ours is a patent and trademark attorney, and we had filed for trademark protection for the name Sugarland as it pertains to bakeries and restaurants. We will be able to shut her down, but we're going to end up having to sue her.

At the time we filed, I thought the trademark application was money down the drain, if we didn't have trademark protection, we would have to contend with another bakery with nearly the same name, with an address also on East Franklin in an area that we actually sell deliver and advertise to.

16 replies
FromScratch Posted 16 Jul 2009 , 1:39am
post #2 of 17

Oooooh.... the lil'bitch! I'm glad that you had the protection you needed.

rharris524 Posted 16 Jul 2009 , 1:40am
post #3 of 17

Yikes, what a PITA! I'm glad that you had already covered your you know what...

tracycakes Posted 16 Jul 2009 , 1:44am
post #4 of 17

Thank you for posting this! My hubby and I were just having this discussion last night as I applied for my Articles of Organization with the Sec of State. I've also reserved a couple of domain names to protect them but I haven't reserved anough. This is extremely timely for me as I am right in the middle of this process.

snarkybaker Posted 16 Jul 2009 , 1:59am
post #5 of 17

Here is what we learned and it might be helpful:

When you register with the Secretary or State( or in some states the county recorder of deeds), you are registering your "trade name". No one else can name their business the "exact' same thing. However they can name their company Bob's bakery company and use a DBA with your EXACT name if they so chose if you don't have a trade or a service " Mark" registered.

If you plan on keeping your business small, you can register you mark with your state, and it will cost anywhere from $25 to $150. You can probably do it yourself, but be careful to fill out the application EXACTLY as worded. It is better to do it in person at the State trademark office so they can tell you what type of evidence of use they require to accept the application. here's the cruddy part. If your application is incomplete or incorrect, they will reject your application AND KEEP YOU MONEY...the bast*rds.

For the most protection, file for federal trademark protection. You can do it online at www.uspto.gov. It will cost from $300 -$1000 . Again, be sure to be complete, because they keep your money even if they decline your application, but the Feds do allow you to ammed your application if you get something wrong or leave something out.

Mensch Posted 16 Jul 2009 , 5:20am
post #6 of 17

Holy cow!

I'm also glad I trademarked.

sara91 Posted 16 Jul 2009 , 5:45am
post #7 of 17

Good Luck, that would be really annoying. I am just looking now at trademarks on the web for international as well.

Have a look at these two sites.

The original in Sydney Australia, very well known, established a long time.

http://www.planetcake.com.au/

Then in London I saw someone opened this. My hubby thought they were the same people.

Similar font, same name, similar colour scheme.

http://www.planet-cake.com/index.htm

QueenOfSweets Posted 16 Jul 2009 , 1:50pm
post #8 of 17

Okay, I may be crazy but I really think I've seen the logo she's using on her website somewhere here in the forum posts as an avatar. I don't know if she's the one that posted, or if she's using someone else's logo as well.

Glad you had your bases covered, snarky!
LL

Doug Posted 16 Jul 2009 , 1:56pm
post #9 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by QueenOfSweets

Okay, I may be crazy but I really think I've seen the logo she's using on her website somewhere here in the forum posts as an avatar. I don't know if she's the one that posted, or if she's using someone else's logo as well.

Glad you had your bases covered, snarky!




it's a standard piece of art you can get from VistaPrint for use on any of their products.

If you look very closely at the address bar in your browser when you are on here site, you can see the VistaPrint logo at the very start (like the little cake at the start of any CC page's wed address).

And if you look at the very bottom of the page, there's a logo splash: Powered by VistaPrint

She's using them to host and build her site.

leeesher Posted 16 Jul 2009 , 2:09pm
post #10 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by QueenOfSweets

Okay, I may be crazy but I really think I've seen the logo she's using on her website somewhere here in the forum posts as an avatar. I don't know if she's the one that posted, or if she's using someone else's logo as well.




http://www.cakecentral.com/modules.php?name=Forums&file=profile&mode=viewprofile&u=690597 icon_confused.gif

iletmn0 Posted 16 Jul 2009 , 3:04pm
post #11 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by snarkybaker



Well, luckily a neighbor of ours is a patent and trademark attorney, and we had filed for trademark protection for the name Sugarland as it pertains to bakeries and restaurants. We will be able to shut her down, but we're going to end up having to sue her.

At the time we filed, I thought the trademark application was money down the drain, if we didn't have trademark protection, we would have to contend with another bakery with nearly the same name, with an address also on East Franklin in an area that we actually sell deliver and advertise to.




Hi Snarkybaker,

did you file for federal trademark protection or a state level trademark? I just search the federal trademarks database and there is already a trademark for "Sugarland" with a very long list of goods and services (see below) with in the GS for bakeries. I'm certain they will deny your application if when it's reviewed by the PTO since this company has held a trademark for "sugarland" since 2002 and recently refiled the trademark last year. You might want to reconsider before wasting any money. I'm not sure if your attorney has brought this to your attention or not if he hasn't then he should have advise you accordingly.


IC 030. US 046. G & S: pastry and confectionery, namely, chocolate and candy; chocolate and chocolate products, namely, chocolate bars, chocolate chips, chocolate truffles, chocolate eggs, grated chocolate, chocolate toppings, and chocolate in the form of sheets, granules and flakes, chocolate candy; decorative chocolate for cakes; confectionery products, namely, pastilles, bonbons, marshmallows, caramel toppings, marzipan, almond candy, roasted almonds coated in chocolate, cakes, muffins, croissants, torts, crepes, petit four, macaroons, pies, tarts, tea cakes, cookies, brownies, frozen confectionery, crystallized sugar pieces, sweetmeats, caramels, pralines, toffee, peanut brittle, fruit jellies, gum sweets, shaved ice confections, ice cream, blancmanges, Italian ice, and fruit ices; fruit gum sweets and liquorices; all aforesaid goods made using sugar substitutes

sweetlayers Posted 16 Jul 2009 , 3:28pm
post #12 of 17

SAVE

snarkybaker Posted 16 Jul 2009 , 3:58pm
post #13 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by iletmn0

Quote:
Originally Posted by snarkybaker



Well, luckily a neighbor of ours is a patent and trademark attorney, and we had filed for trademark protection for the name Sugarland as it pertains to bakeries and restaurants. We will be able to shut her down, but we're going to end up having to sue her.

At the time we filed, I thought the trademark application was money down the drain, if we didn't have trademark protection, we would have to contend with another bakery with nearly the same name, with an address also on East Franklin in an area that we actually sell deliver and advertise to.



Hi Snarkybaker,

did you file for federal trademark protection or a state level trademark? I just search the federal trademarks database and there is already a trademark for "Sugarland" with a very long list of goods and services (see below) with in the GS for bakeries. I'm certain they will deny your application if when it's reviewed by the PTO since this company has held a trademark for "sugarland" since 2002 and recently refiled the trademark last year. You might want to reconsider before wasting any money. I'm not sure if your attorney has brought this to your attention or not if he hasn't then he should have advise you accordingly.


IC 030. US 046. G & S: pastry and confectionery, namely, chocolate and candy; chocolate and chocolate products, namely, chocolate bars, chocolate chips, chocolate truffles, chocolate eggs, grated chocolate, chocolate toppings, and chocolate in the form of sheets, granules and flakes, chocolate candy; decorative chocolate for cakes; confectionery products, namely, pastilles, bonbons, marshmallows, caramel toppings, marzipan, almond candy, roasted almonds coated in chocolate, cakes, muffins, croissants, torts, crepes, petit four, macaroons, pies, tarts, tea cakes, cookies, brownies, frozen confectionery, crystallized sugar pieces, sweetmeats, caramels, pralines, toffee, peanut brittle, fruit jellies, gum sweets, shaved ice confections, ice cream, blancmanges, Italian ice, and fruit ices; fruit gum sweets and liquorices; all aforesaid goods made using sugar substitutes




Since their mark was cancelled for non use, we objected to their re-filing and have our own application in on a prior use claim. We also have a service mark application for "retail bakeries" which is a different category. And yes, we also have the state trademark.

__Jamie__ Posted 16 Jul 2009 , 4:25pm
post #14 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by sara91

Good Luck, that would be really annoying. I am just looking now at trademarks on the web for international as well.

Have a look at these two sites.

The original in Sydney Australia, very well known, established a long time.

http://www.planetcake.com.au/

Then in London I saw someone opened this. My hubby thought they were the same people.

Similar font, same name, similar colour scheme.

http://www.planet-cake.com/index.htm





icon_eek.gificon_eek.gificon_mad.gif

costumeczar Posted 16 Jul 2009 , 10:23pm
post #15 of 17

When I did a search about trademarking my business name I found a few other businesses with the same name. They're not near me, all in different states, but if I registered the trademark and tried to prevent them from using the name, it was my understanding that they could object and prevent me from using it if they'd been in business longer. If other local businesses can't use the same name if you're registered with the state, what's the advantage of trademarking? Would I even be able to if someone else in the U.S. has the name and has been in business longer than I have? I'm not planning on expanding my home-based business to do business anywhere else, so it's not like I care if someone in another state is using the same name...

snarkybaker Posted 17 Jul 2009 , 12:50am
post #16 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by costumeczar

When I did a search about trademarking my business name I found a few other businesses with the same name. They're not near me, all in different states, but if I registered the trademark and tried to prevent them from using the name, it was my understanding that they could object and prevent me from using it if they'd been in business longer. If other local businesses can't use the same name if you're registered with the state, what's the advantage of trademarking? Would I even be able to if someone else in the U.S. has the name and has been in business longer than I have? I'm not planning on expanding my home-based business to do business anywhere else, so it's not like I care if someone in another state is using the same name...




If you own the mark, you can prevent others from using it, or stop people from using the name once you are granted the rights to the mark. You need to provide evidence of use, and if someone else is using the name and they have a trademark tracking service etc. They may file an objection to your registration of the claim, like we did for the German cookie company that uses the name Sugarland, but doesn't actually do business in the US.

If you get into things like this, it will get more expensive because of the lawyer and filing fees involved, but it is absolutely worth it to at least get you state trade mark, and if I were in a small state I would file the federal just because.

sweet-thing Posted 17 Jul 2009 , 1:39am
post #17 of 17

Okay, so I am just starting this getting legal process but I thought you could not sell licensed character cakes. So my question is...does she have permission to sell these character cakes (obviously we don't know that) or can you sell them once you are a licensed or how does that work? icon_confused.gif


I am learning so much from all of you. icon_biggrin.gif

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