Why should you run an official name search for your business?
It doesn’t matter what stage of business you’re in. If you don’t have a federal trademark registration, you should run an official search for your business name. Even if you’re in the pre-planning stages of your business, run a search! Running a search now can save you thousands of dollars down the road.
You’re starting a business and you’ve come up with the PERFECT name! Or maybe you have an existing business, and you LOVE your name! Several months or years down the road you realize business is going great, and you’re thinking about trademarking your business name. If you’re smart, you’ll speak to an attorney. The first thing the attorney tells you is that the first step before doing anything is running a search. Why? Because running a search will let you know what level of risk you will face during the application process. You think, ok no big deal, I should be fine since I’ve already searched google and the trademark database.
You may be right, but you could be wrong. Only in a small number of circumstances is google and the TESS database an adequate search. This is because the trademark office does not only look for names that are the same as yours. The test for trademark infringement is “likelihood of confusion.” The trademark office will compare your mark to those that are likely to cause confusion with already registered marks. So even though you ran your own search and didn’t find any business with the same name as yours, there could still be a number of businesses with names that are similar enough that are likely to cause confusion.
This could cause a number of problems. The first problem is that you could be denied a trademark registration because you didn’t initially run a search. You may be able to overcome the denial, but there’s no way to know for sure. Also, the trademark denial may not mean you have to change your name. However, if the registered mark becomes aware of your mark and application, they may decide to come after you for trademark infringement, which is the second problem. Without running an official search, you run the risk of infringing on someone else’s trademark. It is unlikely that the registered mark would immediately sue you. Most likely, they will send a letter asking you to change your name. If you refuse, then they may decide to sue you. If you’ve been in business for any amount of time, a name change can be detrimental. But one thing is for sure, the sooner you change your name the better. The longer you’ve been in business, the more business a brand change may cost you.
Yes, you can save a few hundred dollars by skipping the official name search. After all, most new business owners are running a tight budget to get everything off the ground and running. But answer this question – would you rather spend a few hundred dollars now or thousands of dollars down the road when you’re forced to change your na
I’ve had quite a number of businesses reach out to me because of a name change, and they all have one thing in common. None of them ran an official search when starting out, and if they would have run an official search, they would have avoided the entire name change process. They could have avoided wasting thousands of dollars in marketing materials.
The search fee is different for each attorney. But I promise, the search will almost certainly save you money in the long run. My search starts at $350. If you’d like to get started with a search, feel free to email me – [email protected].
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