Daily Law Group
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What can you do to protect your company's name?

Your company's name will be a part of your brand, and you hope that one day it will be known throughout California, across the United States and even around the world. To garner that kind of attention, though, you need to ensure that your claim to the name is ironclad. Otherwise, you could end up in a tradename dispute.

According to the Small Business Administration, in addition to circumstances where two companies each claim the right to a name, there are a number of other threats to your trade name:

  • Impersonators
  • Scammers
  • Tradename hijackers
  • Business identity theft

Another threat to your trade name is cybersquatting, which involves someone registering your business name as an internet domain in hopes of selling it to you at a profit. It is important for you to register your domain name right away so that no one else can use it, either to scam you out of money or to impersonate your business.

You should also register your company's name with the state or federal government. Particularly if you plan to do business outside of California, you should consider filing for a trademark with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. State registration only protects within California, so a company in another state could also register the name. Even though the companies are in different states, it could cause some confusion, especially if you and the other company both offer coupons or information online to your local customers.

If you plan to do business internationally, you may want to fill out an international application through the International Bureau of World Property Intellectual Organization. Although this does not provide you with universal tradename protection, it does allow you to file for registration in the countries that are part of the Madrid Protocol. Alternately, you could seek tradename protection with the individual countries where you plan to do business.

This information is provided for educational purposes, but it is general in nature, and should not be interpreted as legal advice.

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