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Q: I registered the name of my business with the state when I formed my company. Should I do anything else to protect my company name?
A: YES. By forming a company with the state, you do not automatically obtain exclusive rights to use the name of the business as a trademark. If you promote your business online or otherwise use the name of your business in interstate U.S. Commerce, you should file an application to register your mark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). If you only use your mark within your state, you should register the mark within the state. You should also register a collection of domain names relating to your mark. You should have a trademark attorney notify you when somebody else has filed a new USPTO application relating to your mark. In addition, you should register for an alert service that will send you periodic electronic reports regarding which people and businesses are referencing your mark. Don’t forget each variation of your company name (plain text, stylized text, with a logo or a tag line)counts as a separate mark. These limited, cost effective steps will make your brand significantly more valuable and protectable. Each situation is slightly different, so you should contact a trademark attorney to discuss the plan of action that will work best for you.
ABOUT JONATHAN WACHS
Jonathan Wachs provides strategic counseling and operational advice to clients in the areas of intellectual property, commercial transactions and outsourced legal departments. As head of the firm’s Intellectual Property Group, Mr. Wachs works closely with clients to develop, register, analyze, enforce, and transfer intellectual property assets in a customized, cost-efficient, and highly effective manner. Additionally, he conducts intellectual property audits through which clients learn the nature and value of their intellectual property assets and the steps needed to protect such assets from misappropriation or dilution. As a business lawyer, he has successfully negotiated and completed several multimillion dollar business transactions and has served as general counsel to several small and midsize businesses and organizations in various industries and professions. He also manages a blog about intellectual property issues, Friday Factoids. Mr. Wachs co-manages New Paradigm Counsel, a service through which Offit Kurman delivers customized, comprehensive and cost-effective outsourced legal departments. Through New Paradigm Counsel, Jon served as outsourced general counsel for a government contractor, a large printing business, a payment processing company and an identity theft restoration business. You can also connect with Offit Kurman via Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube, and LinkedIn.
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