Among the most difficult hurdles for a new startup is picking the right name. Almost every startup I help tells me that finding the right name is one of the biggest obstacles. The right name is contingent on URL availability and distinction. There are considerable advantages to having a .com URL that matches your corporate name. Furthermore, the most brandable names are creatively unique.
As a company’s name becomes more commonly known and associated with certain goods, competitors tend to use similar names that may cause confusion or dilute your effort to build a valuable brand. The more valuable the brand name, the more vulnerable the name is to competitor misappropriation. Competitors will often copy a brand name through a second tier URLs, i.e. .net, .co, etc.
A federal trademark is a perfect way to protect a brand name. The application cost to obtain a trademark registration is fairly economical, especially given the substantial legal rights obtained from a federal trademark. Under the best circumstances, a trademark application typically takes 6-12 months or longer from the time of filing to official registration. Doing a trademark early on is worth considering because the party who files first is the presumptive owner. In other words, waiting to file a trademark application allows your competitors to use your name without consequence, or, even worse, filing a trademark for the rights to your name first. Neither of the foregoing scenarios is a good one. The litigation cost to contest ownership is expensive and uncertain. The best way to secure the rights to your name is to research and file a trademark application in close proximity to when your startup is incorporated.
Learn more about the trademark services Johnstun Law provides here. To learn how we can help your business succeed, call 801-980-5300, or fill out our contact form. Subscribe to Johnstun Law’s email alerts for startup information, business updates, and relevant news.