Protecting your business name
Establishing a business is a complex matter in all its aspects. Therefore, it is no wonder that choosing, registering and protecting a business name is also a complex task.
First of all, there are several forms that a business name can take:
1. Business legal name – this is a personal name of the business’ owner. If your company is a sole proprietorship, this name will basically be your personal name, even though it can be in some cases be changed.
2. Trade name or DBA name – if you own a sole proprietorship, a partnership or a limited liability company and you do not want the company’s business legal name to be your personal name, this is when you give it a trade name. The trade name is registered with your local government and it is also known as DBA name (short for “doing business as”).
3. Business trademark – trademark is your business name after it becomes government protected. After you register the company and its name as a trademark, you are granted a full privilege of owning the name, and it protects you from any infringement issues. You can find out more here.
4. Domain name – in the modern era, this has also become an inevitable aspect of business – and it represents your online name. You should register your domain name in order to prevent others from using it on the Internet for any purpose.
The best way to protect your business name is registering it with your national registration authorities. If you live in the USA, you have two options – registering the name as a state trademark or as a federal trademark. Federal trademarks are a better option, because state trademarks are only protected within the borders of one state.
When it comes to international protection, it is important to know that protecting the business name in your country does not grant its protection abroad. If you plan to export the goods abroad, you need to contact the official authorities of the countries you want to export to, and file requests for registering a trademark there, presuming that the same business name does not already exist.