Trademarking Business Names

Business By letem_eat_cakes Updated 12 Jan 2010 , 1:38pm by WendyVA

letem_eat_cakes Posted 7 Jan 2010 , 4:38pm
post #1 of 27

what do i need to do to trademark/copyright a business name? i do not yet have an actual bakery but i have a name that i want to be able to use when i finally get it. i love this name and everyone in my family as well as a couple of my really close friends love it too so i want to make sure it will always be mine.

26 replies
jillmakescakes Posted 7 Jan 2010 , 5:28pm
post #2 of 27

look at the US trademark office, there is a whole list of instructions.

Just as a heads up, trademarking doesn't PREVENT anyone from using your name, just means that you can take them to court if they do. Will you be willing to take someone to court? Also, if your name is pretty common, it might be tough to get it approved.

costumeczar Posted 7 Jan 2010 , 5:45pm
post #3 of 27

And if you have a relatively common name that someone else has been using for a while, they can prevent you from getting/enforcing the trademark. If their business has been established and you tell them to quit using the name they'd probably just laugh at you.

As long as someone in your area isn't using the name you can probably just register it with your state's business department. Check to see if that prevents someone else in your area from also using it.

tootie0809 Posted 7 Jan 2010 , 7:16pm
post #4 of 27

Why trademark a bakery name? Unless you plan on going national at some point, what's the reason? Just because someone across the country or in another country entirely has the same business name as you doesn't mean that any of your potential customers are going to confuse you with that company.

Mike1394 Posted 7 Jan 2010 , 8:02pm
post #5 of 27

Get a Lawyer

Mike

letem_eat_cakes Posted 8 Jan 2010 , 12:56am
post #6 of 27

thanks everyone, i probably will end up getting a lawyer. it just seems easier mthat way. they can also explain everything that is necessary for it and make sure everything is filed correctly and on time.

confectionsofahousewife Posted 10 Jan 2010 , 8:54pm
post #7 of 27

Hi there. My husband is a lawyer and, as part of my xmas gift, registered my fictitious name (for my business) with the state. That allows my business to operate under that name but does not prevent anyone else from using that name. Once we file our articles of incorporation (Business Name, LLC or Business Name, Inc.) no one can use that business name as an LLC or a corporation. However, there could be a "Anne's Cakes", LLC and an "Anne's Cakes", Inc. in the same state. At least that is how it works here. From our experience, most small business incorporate themselves as LLCs because they don't have to file separate taxes for their business. We are incorporating as an LLC (once I build myself a separate kitchen, that is). Not sure if that is helpful or not as these things can vary by state. Totally understand about wanting to secure your name though. I went ahead and bought the rights to my business name .com so no one can take my web address either.

Uniqueask Posted 10 Jan 2010 , 9:23pm
post #8 of 27

I had the same question, thanks for the replies.
What if you move to another state, and someone else is using the same, Just a question?
and how do you buy the rights to your business name.com so no one can take the web address.

indydebi Posted 10 Jan 2010 , 11:45pm
post #9 of 27

Many businesses buy the domain names for any derivative of their name. I heard Dave Ramsey say once that he owned hundreds of domains that were variations of his business name so no one else could use them. It all depends on how much money you want to spend on ficticious web/email names to protect your actual business name.

confectionsofahousewife Posted 11 Jan 2010 , 12:06am
post #10 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi

Many businesses buy the domain names for any derivative of their name. I heard Dave Ramsey say once that he owned hundreds of domains that were variations of his business name so no one else could use them. It all depends on how much money you want to spend on ficticious web/email names to protect your actual business name.




Yep. You can buy the .coms, .net, .org, .biz, etc. I only bought the .com because that is the one that I wanted to be able to use. When I actually start the business, I might consider buying the rest of them that include my actual business name but probably not other variations thereof. I'm not that concerned about it since I will be a local business. I just wanted to make sure I could use the web address that I wanted and I figured having a .com would make it easier for people to find it when searching. I secured mine at godaddy.com. That website lets you search various names and tells you what is available and what isnt. I was able to purchase mine for $10 per year so its not like it was real expensive.

globalgatherings Posted 11 Jan 2010 , 12:18am
post #11 of 27

Confectionsofahousewife, maybe you and your husband can explain this to me. I went to a lawyer in 2001, paid $1000 and thought I trademarked my company name, but I guess I failed to understand all the details because in 2005 I googled my company name , just to see what came up and a restaurant with my same name opened in 2005, obviously after me. So of course I was little concerned and called the lawyer. He said they can do that as long as they don't open up one within so many miles of my location. I guess I don't really care as long as they serve really great food, it might help my business, but then again if they suck, that would suck for me. icon_cry.gif

confectionsofahousewife Posted 11 Jan 2010 , 3:30am
post #12 of 27

**Not rendering legal advice here. Just sharing experience!**

Globalgatherings, that is so frustrating! This is why everyone hates lawyers. They tend to mislead and are not always good at explaining things to the layperson. Did the restaurant open in your same state? Does it have EXACTLY the same name?
Unfortunately it is very difficult for you to trademark your business name so that no one else can use it anywhere. Only big companies (i.e. Coca cola) have trademarked names and the company must have some value to protect (hence the trademark). Hubs is a civil defense attorney, not a patent lawyer, unfortunately, so he is not sure of the requirements for trademarking a business name. I think we use the term trademark when that is not really what we mean. Husband thinks perhaps there might be different levels/types of trademarking business names (hence your situation with not having one within so many miles).
Once you have filed your articles of incorporation with your state (which I assume you have done since you are a business), no other business can have that exact name. So if you are XXX, LLC they can be XXX Co. or XXX Company or XXX, Inc. Just has to be one letter difference, really, in the names.
Sorry I can't be of more assistance. But I am going to ask my husband to look into it because I don't really want someone else to be able to use my name either. Wonder if we have any patent attorneys here...

pattycakesnj Posted 11 Jan 2010 , 3:52am
post #13 of 27

As a lawyer, I take exception to confectionsofahousewife, most lawyers DON'T tend to mislead. Maybe she misunderstood, there is a world of difference between trademarks and registering a business name. A trademark for $1000, I don't think so. Often, lay people confuse these concepts and if globalgatherings checks her paperwork, I doubt she will see that she trademarked anything. For $1000, she probably got her business registered by the state. (which by the way, most people can do on their state's website without a lawyer, in NJ, it cost $125)

confectionsofahousewife Posted 11 Jan 2010 , 4:10am
post #14 of 27

pattycakes, didn't mean to offend! There lots of great lawyers out there that are honest (my husband is one of them and imagine you are too) but there are lots of not so honest ones also.
What you said is exactly what I was getting at. Registering a business name is not the same as trademarking it. Do you know what is involved with trademarking a business name? Is it even possible for a smaller business? Just curious.
Here in MO it costs about $100 to register your business name with the state. I figured globalgatherings probably paid her lawyer to draft her articles of incorporation.
I apologize again for offending you icon_biggrin.gif . Didn't mean anything by it.
BTW, how do you have time to lawyer and make cakes? That's amazing!

pattycakesnj Posted 11 Jan 2010 , 4:17am
post #15 of 27

confectionsofahousewife, sorry, didn't mean to jump all over you, just a long day. I was a prosecutor for 25 years, retired 2 years ago, and now have my own cake and cookie business ( much less stress making cakes than putting bad guys, and girls in jail). As far as trademarking, it is not my area of speciality but it is a lot more involved than just registering a name. (and more expensive) Also, I don't really see the need to do so unless, as someone said, you are going global or national.

globalgatherings Posted 11 Jan 2010 , 5:14am
post #16 of 27

So, when I did this 9 years ago I was pretty ignorant to this part of the business; my goodness you guys have really educated me.Thank you all so much and thank you OP for posting this question. I am also ignorant to this computer stuff and internet. Grew up in the 70's; no computers in school. So tonight after you mentioned to buy the .com, .net stuff, I went on globalgatherings.com and low and behold it has been copyrighted by a jewelry company in 2007. I guess all I can do at this point is to just laugh it off. The name has been now used by a jewelry co. a restaurant, a church gathering etc... And here I thought I was being so clever, Global Gatherings," catering foods from around the world". I kind of feel like a dumb ass!!! icon_redface.gif From what I learned here tonight, unless you can spend tons of money on protecting your name, it seems to be pretty much impossible. Any feedback??

globalgatherings Posted 11 Jan 2010 , 5:44am
post #17 of 27

O yea, confectionsoah and pattycakes, I agree with you both. I should have asked my lawyer more questions back then, but he also could have been a little better about offering up the info. It was pretty much, wham, bam, thank you mam!!! and "here's your stuff go file it". Not bashing attorneys either, my lovely, wonderful sister who I lost to a blood clot 4 years ago, was a fabulous attorney. It's just like any business, including mine, there's great caterers out there and some that could do better.

I love my CC friends here, I've learned so much and here I am at 50, I thought I already knew it all icon_lol.gif

confectionsofahousewife Posted 11 Jan 2010 , 2:00pm
post #18 of 27

pattycakes, no worries! Just don't want to make anyone mad. Glad to hear you are enjoying retirement.
Globalgatherings, its hard to understand all of the legal stuff. I am lucky that my husband is a lawyer so I don't have to worry about it as much. I think your name is great. Its hard to be 100% original these days. I imagine you've been around long enough in your area that people aren't going to get you confused with a church or a jewelry store!
On a side note, its funny for me to read your age! I have a tendency to assume everyone on the internet is my age (30). My mom is in her late 60s and has never ever touched a computer and doesn't ever plan to so its funny to me when women older than me are knowledgeable about using the internet. I know you don't think you are internet savvy but my mother doesn't know how to google something!

indydebi Posted 11 Jan 2010 , 2:09pm
post #19 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by confectionsofahousewife

I know you don't think you are internet savvy but my mother doesn't know how to google something!




I loved that recent commercial that went something like, "81 million people are twittering ..... 16 million of you have no idea what that is!" icon_lol.gificon_lol.gif

WendyVA Posted 11 Jan 2010 , 3:21pm
post #20 of 27

I trademarked my business name - you don't have to be a large company to do it but you do have to have an original name. It takes about a year to have a trademark approved and there are thorough checks made to be sure that you were the first person to use that name in commerce or that your trademark will not lead to any confusion in the marketplace. Trademarking your name with the United States Office of Patents and Trademarks means that no one in the country can LEGALLY use that name or a similar name in business.

go to www.uspto.gov to find out more info.

I registered my trademark because I do have customers all over the country. I live on the east coast and worked with a bride in Washington State on her wedding that was to be held here but she was planning from there, I have a regular customer in Georgia whose daughter is going to college here and I've been doing her birthday cakes for 4 years. I don't want any of my customers from other states to have trouble finding me and I don't want someone else's work to be confused with mine - even if theirs is better than mine.

People who don't understand the law will still copy your name, but you have the right to sue them and the fine for trademark infringement the last time I checked was like $250,000 so it's always worth it to check trademarks before you name your business just so you don't risk it. The uspto.gov site has a tool where you can check trademarked business names.

So if you have a great name - do trademark it! It cost me around $500 to trademark my name. It's worth it! Good luck! icon_smile.gif

globalgatherings Posted 11 Jan 2010 , 6:39pm
post #21 of 27

Okay, off subject a little, I'm one of those 16 million Indydebi that doesn't understand twittering, although I do know how to text. How is twittering any different from texting???

Confections, I'm with your Mom, all this technical stuff is just to crazy to keep up with icon_cry.gif

costumeczar Posted 11 Jan 2010 , 8:14pm
post #22 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by globalgatherings

Okay, off subject a little, I'm one of those 16 million Indydebi that doesn't understand twittering, although I do know how to text. How is twittering any different from texting???

Confections, I'm with your Mom, all this technical stuff is just to crazy to keep up with icon_cry.gif




Twittering is like texting to a bunch of people at once. You sign up for an account, then you add people to the list of people that you follow. Whenever they send a tweet you see it if they're on your follow list. When people sign up to follow you, they see your tweets. It's cool, I've found a lot of other cake decorators who have interesting sites through it. You can also send out tweets promoting your business if you want to use it for that

bobwonderbuns Posted 11 Jan 2010 , 8:15pm
post #23 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by costumeczar

Quote:
Originally Posted by globalgatherings

Okay, off subject a little, I'm one of those 16 million Indydebi that doesn't understand twittering, although I do know how to text. How is twittering any different from texting???

Confections, I'm with your Mom, all this technical stuff is just to crazy to keep up with icon_cry.gif



Twittering is like texting to a bunch of people at once. You sign up for an account, then you add people to the list of people that you follow. Whenever they send a tweet you see it if they're on your follow list. When people sign up to follow you, they see your tweets. It's cool, I've found a lot of other cake decorators who have interesting sites through it. You can also send out tweets promoting your business if you want to use it for that




Then again there are those of use who don't give a tweet! icon_lol.gif

globalgatherings Posted 11 Jan 2010 , 8:42pm
post #24 of 27

Costumeczar, thanx, that does sound cool and easy enough for me to figure out thumbs_up.gif

costumeczar Posted 11 Jan 2010 , 8:45pm
post #25 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by bobwonderbuns

Quote:
Originally Posted by costumeczar

Quote:
Originally Posted by globalgatherings

Okay, off subject a little, I'm one of those 16 million Indydebi that doesn't understand twittering, although I do know how to text. How is twittering any different from texting???

Confections, I'm with your Mom, all this technical stuff is just to crazy to keep up with icon_cry.gif



Twittering is like texting to a bunch of people at once. You sign up for an account, then you add people to the list of people that you follow. Whenever they send a tweet you see it if they're on your follow list. When people sign up to follow you, they see your tweets. It's cool, I've found a lot of other cake decorators who have interesting sites through it. You can also send out tweets promoting your business if you want to use it for that



Then again there are those of use who don't give a tweet! icon_lol.gif




Ha ha, Tweet this, pal! icon_twisted.gif It's good advertising, though, I've networked with people in town who I've met through twitter, and it's a good advertising tool if you use it right.

It's also a good time-waster, ah ha ha ! Like I need another one of those...

confectionsofahousewife Posted 12 Jan 2010 , 12:48am
post #26 of 27

WendyVA, thanks so much for that information. Were you able to trademark your name on your own or did you have to hire a patent lawyer?

WendyVA Posted 12 Jan 2010 , 1:38pm
post #27 of 27

You can do it on your own. I think it just costs a couple hundred bucks if you do it that way, but you have to fill out all of the paperwork - you can get it all at the uspto.com website. I didn't hire a lawyer -no offense to any lawyers in here - I used a service that I heard about on the talk radio station that I listen to. Google "trademarking a business" and you'll find a lot of help.

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