The Difference Between a Business Name and a Trademark

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Although the terms “company name” and “trademark” are considered similar, it’s crucial for business owners to understand the distinction, especially those who are just starting out. 

Establishing a brand presence and awareness in the marketplace for a firm and its products involves choosing and registering business names and trademarks. 

Companies should avoid selecting business names that are too similar to registered trademarks, even if they are not identical, because doing so could subject owners to legal action. 

As a result, the law clearly distinguishes between the two, and that is precisely what we will be talking about in this article. 

So, let’s proceed with our “difference between trademark and business name” article.

What Is A Business Name?

If you own a business, your brand name is likely one of your most valuable assets. 

An excellent name is one that establishes a strong identity and accurately represents the nature of your organization. Therefore, a business name is the name of the business by which it is known. 

The name of the company could be the owner’s own name, or it could be something completely distinct and specific to the company.

All official correspondence, including letters and invoices, should utilize your business names. Companies must also have their name visible in the places where they conduct business.

The company name you choose can affect how the public perceives your business. 

Due to the fact that many of the finest names have already been trademarked, it is harder than ever to come up with a suitable business name nowadays. 

However, a solid reputation is essential to building a recognizable brand for a business, especially with rising advertising expenditures and competition. 

In other words.

The name you select could make or break your company.

What Are Trade Names And Dba Names

When you register a trade name with the state, the county, or in some cases, the local municipality, you can legally conduct business under a specific name. 

The company’s owner has a variety of options for a trading name. They might, for instance, utilize the name of the founder, explain what they do, use a word from a context, or coin a new word. 

In the US, it is frequently referred to as “Doing Business As” (DBA).

It is the simplest and most affordable option to operate under a new business name without having to establish a brand-new business entity. As a result, you can also advertise, receive payments, and conduct other business activities with DBA.

It gives businesses flexibility because different goods or business types can be divided within a corporation by using different trade names. 

Furthermore, a DBA name gives the owner privacy, especially if they are a lone proprietor. Even though they are required to use the firm name, using a trading name allows them to maintain their anonymity while conducting business.

Guidelines For Registering Business Names

Let’s learn about some important things to keep in mind before you start the process of registering a business name.

Understand Your Business

Like many business procedures, naming demands a thorough knowledge of your business. 

Your company’s benefit must be communicated by the name and the label you choose. 

So, try to keep this in mind as you gather potential business name ideas.

Be Precise

When picking a name for your business, be imaginative. After all, distinctiveness is crucial. 

However, avoid making potential clients work too hard to understand what you’re all about. 

They should be able to tell what you can offer just by reading your name.

Avoid Names That Are Difficult To Spell

It is obvious that customers will be using your company name to access your website or send you emails. 

As a result, don’t use a difficult-to-spell option to make their lives more challenging. 

Additionally, keeping things simple reduces the possibility of future misspellings on stationery, products, and other materials.

Get Feedback

In almost every business sector, receiving feedback is essential. Even while you should own the process of naming your business, another opinion is still important. 

Therefore, get as many second opinions as you can before settling on a firm name. 

Don’t restrict that to close friends and relatives. Consider conducting some thorough market research on your intended audiences.

Use Descriptive Words

Using descriptive language is a wonderful technique to convey the concept of your business. 

Consider putting a word like that in the name of your company. Incorporating a phrase like “immediate” or “quick,” for instance, could be an option for businesses that prioritize speedy service.

How To Register A Business Name

This is the process of registering your company’s name and legal structure with the Secretary of State’s office. This includes all legal strictures such as corporation, limited liability company (LLC), partnership, or sole proprietorship.

To ensure that no other company registers the identical business name in your state, you should register your business name.

The laws governing the registration of business names vary from state to state. In other words, certain states might be less rigorous and might allow a business name that is quite similar to another. 

So without further ado, let’s begin the process.

Come Up With Business Names

Your company’s naming process must get off to a creative start. So, you need to think of numerous choices before settling on the ideal name. 

Sit down, either alone or with dependable advisers, and let your creative juices flow. There are several techniques to get your mind going, including:

Now, you can generate a big list of potential business names using your word dump and a name generator. 

Using more than one of the tools mentioned above could provide you access to a wider variety. 

As a result, you can start using your instinct and taste at this point. Remove a business name concept from your list if you don’t think it fits your company. 

Do the same if a choice seems too similar to the name of an existing company.

Verify The Availability Of The Business Name

Things are about to get interesting because it’s time to see if your preferred names are still available. 

There are a couple of popular techniques in which you can verify the availability of your selected business names.

Browse Federal Trademark Databases

Check to see whether your proposed business name has already been trademarked by someone else. 

Fortunately, it is a simple procedure. All you have to do is go to the US Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS).

You must enter the name of your potential company here. After conducting a trademark search, the specialized search engine will notify you if your preferred option is available.

Availability Of Domains

Nowadays, every business needs to have a webpage. It is not simply something that e-commerce brands should consider. 

Ideally, you want your domain name to be identical to or as similar to your company name as possible. 

As a result, you must conduct a domain availability check.

Many tools are available to help you with this. The previously mentioned business name generators are a good place to start.

Register Your Business Name

You must first create the necessary formation documents—such as an LLC operating agreement, partnership agreement, or shareholders’ agreement—and file registration forms with the relevant state office in order to register a business name. 

So, when you submit an application to incorporate your company, you must provide your business name alongside it. 

If your business name is accepted, it will be registered with Companies House, preventing other companies from using your company name when they register.

What Is A Trademark?

A trademark is any term, phrase, symbol, design, or combination of these that distinguishes your products from those of others. 

It’s how consumers identify you in the marketplace and set you apart from your competitors. 

For commodities, a trademark is utilized, whereas, for services, a service mark is used. 

With the help of a trademark, you can use your mark without restriction and stop competitors from using a mark that is identical to or strikingly similar to yours.

Your mark must be unique and unlikely to be confused with an existing trademark in order to qualify for federal trademark protection. When choosing a trademark, pay attention to what you are selling, how it differs from the competition, and what makes it distinctive.

Furthermore, it’s a popular mistake that by registering a trademark, you can legally claim ownership of a specific word or phrase and forbid others from using it. 

You only have rights to the word or phrase as it is used in conjunction with your particular goods or services. You do not own the word or phrase in general.

How To Register A Trademark

It may take longer than you expect to trademark the name of your firm because the process is more complicated than registering an LLC. 

So, let’s get straight to the steps involved in this process.

Search

To make sure the name you want to trademark isn’t already protected as a trademark, you must first conduct a search of the federal database. 

The Trademark Electronic Search System, or TESS, of the USPTO, can help you with this. You should look up related names in addition to the one you desire. 

If the name is too close to one that has already been registered within the same class, your registration can be rejected.

Once you’ve located your ideal name, you must register with the USPTO by setting up an account with an email address and password in order to submit a trademark application via the Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS). 

You may access the application materials you need to begin the application process once you’ve enrolled.

Apply

Now, prepare your trademark application. You can register a name that is already in use in commerce or that you intend to use in the future. 

The application will next request some basic data from the mark’s owner. You must specify the company type (corporation, LLC, partnership, etc.) as well as the state or country of formation if a business is the owner of the mark.

Next, decide if you now utilize the mark in commerce or have future plans to do so for the application’s foundation. 

Furthermore, if you are applying for a design trademark, you must write the mark precisely as it appears on your goods or services or upload a logo.

File

Two filing options are available to you when you have finished the application: TEAS Plus and TEAS Standard. 

The Plus option has a lower rejection rate, is less expensive, and is more efficient. However, the risk associated with the Standard option may be more advantageous if you need to construct a unique description of your products or services that is not there in the preset list Plus offers.

Furthermore, upon submitting the application, it also requires you to pay the filing fee. Otherwise, the processing of your application will not continue. 

Your fees will depend on how many classes of goods or services you include in your application. 

The USPTO will send you a confirmation receipt after you’ve filed your application, along with a serial number you can use to check the status of your application in the Trademark Status & Document Retrieval (TSDR) portal.

Differences Between Business Names And Trademarks

It is quite typical for a company to have identical or very similar business names and trademarks. 

But in reality, there are three different business names that you use in a company. 

Each name has a separate function and is different from the other in some manner. 

Let’s see how these business names can differ from a trademark of the company.

Difference Between Trademark And Trade Name

There are certain differences between these two. However, one significant difference between a trademark and a trade name is that a trademark typically appears on the goods or their packaging. 

Whereas a trade name is not the name of a particular good or service; rather, it is the real or fictitious name of a commercial entity.

Difference Between Brand Name And Trademark

A brand name can be the name of a business or the moniker given to a specific good or service. 

It is the term the business uses to describe its products and services and the term customers use to identify the manufacturer of these products and services. 

Whereas a trademark is a form of intellectual property that safeguards a brand.

Conclusion

Both business names and trademarks are very important for any business operating in the market today. 

You must understand their role and capability of them to utilize them accordingly. 

Our article will help you better understand the terms so that you can employ them according to your benefit.

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