How To Copyright A Business Name
Copyright and trademark law are two very complicated things that many business owners may attempt to put off dealing with for as long as possible, but eventually they will have to learn how to copyright a business name. Technically speaking, however, you can't actually copyright a business name. A copyright is more for intellectual property and original works of authorship and artistic works. Directly from the copyright office, "copyright does not protect facts, ideas, systems, or methods of operation, although it may protect the way these things are expressed." Copyright also does not protect names, titles, slogans, or short phrases. Luckily, American trademark law considers your businesses name protected the minute you start using it for commerce, assuming no other companies use it also. In order to further protect your business name, you will need to have it trademarked.
- Decide what you are trademarking. Obviously, your first step should be to figure out what exactly you are going to present as your trademark. This can either be just the name, or a stylized printing of the name, or even a symbol. Standard character format offers a more broad protection of your name, while design format protects the appearance and look of the design.
- Find out if you are first. Using the Trademark Electronic System Search, you can find if your desired trademark has already been claimed by somebody else. If it has, you may have to rework your name or idea in order to avoid any sort of legal infringement.
- Filing time. If your trademark is sufficiently original, upload a jpeg of the mark or a picture of the design if it is located on a physical product. Go to the Trademark Electronic Application System. Click on "Apply for a New Mark," then click on "Trademark/Servicemark Application" and begin to fill out the application. Eventually it will ask you to validate the application and enter payment information, and, after that, your trademark will be on its way to review. Now, as mentioned earlier, you technically do not have to go through these steps. In America, you can establish a trademark through common law use. However, finding other common law trademarks that may be similar to yours can be a long and arduous task. It is simpler, and more legally protecting, to go through the steps to trademark your business name.