By using a name, any name, for your company, product or services, you implicitly earn some common law rights in that name, even if you don’t make any claims.
But why not make some claims? The minute you have a final company name and your doors are open and you are in business, you have the right to put a small TM next to it and claim the trademark on that name, part of that name, or a logo associated with the name, or a combination thereof. This simple act can pay major dividends later in terms of keeping competitors at bay and getting the registered trademark. In fact, have your graphics designer build the TM right into the logo, so no one can unwittingly forget it. Then make sure all marketing and production management are reminded regularly to put small trademark claims at appropriate places on all print media, including electronic.
Similarly with your product names. As soon as you introduce a new product name, put a TM next to it. This is a signal to the public at large that you are putting a stake in the ground and claiming rights in this name. Save and protect any documents that prove this first date of usage. It provides you a modicum of immediate coverage and establishes a claim and a reference point for the future. Should anyone else ever try to use the same name, you can then easily prove you were the first to use it.
NOTE: If you make such claims without doing a due diligent search on other companies or products in a similar field to you, then you might be unwittingly infringing on someone else’s trademark. If they were there first, and in particular if they have a registered trademark or have made TM claims, then they might be sending you a “cease and desist” letter. Not to worry……you have 10 days to change to a new name! Ouch.
What if you offer a service rather than products? In other words, you have no products to which you can attach the TM symbol. Well then you can make claims for Service Marks
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Disclaimer: Brighter Naming is not licensed to provide legal advice. The information here is provided as an overview service only.