When should a company trademark its name? That is a question that many new business owners in Michigan grapple with as they start to create a comprehensive plan to enter into commerce. A good answer to that question is to do so as soon as possible, and there are some reasons why a company should trademark its name sooner rather than later.
A company can do a comprehensive search of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office database to ensure that its name does not infringe on an existing trademark. If it did infringe on another company’s trademark, it could have to drop the name and build a new brand from scratch. Although a business will be able to look through the names of companies in its state of incorporation or formation, that business won’t know what is going on in each of the other 49 states.
For companies that aren’t sure when they will use their trademark, it is possible to file for an intent-to-use trademark. This enables a company to put a hold on a trademark that it intends to use within the next six months. The best part about that is a company can claim first use of the trademark when the application is applied for regardless of when the trademark is actually used for the first time.
The name of a company is often thought of as intellectual property that should be protected as soon as possible. While it may take several months for a trademark application to be approved, it may be beneficial to start the application process as soon as possible. Business owners who need help with the trademark process may wish to speak to a business law attorney who may be able to offer assistance in that regard.
Source: Small Business Trends, “When is the Best Time to Trademark Your Company Name?“, Nellie Akalp, June 26, 2014