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Re: How do I go about copyrighting a business name?

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Posted by Stephen L. Anderson on July 13, 2001 at 11:47:51:

In Reply to: How do I go about copyrighting a business name? posted by LaTisha on July 12, 2001 at 14:00:18:

Dear LaTisha:

Actually, while copyright protection is available for designs, such as a logo, but when you want to protect a brand name, (or a design used in business like McDonald's "golden arches"), that would be a trademark.

The best way to protect a trademark is by filing a federal application for trademark registration.

There are different classes for trademark registration. Once you have selected a name, you should check to see if it is already in use or registered. Sometimes certain words can be trademarked by different individuals or entities in different classes, like DELTA for faucets and DELTA for Airlines. Other times some words may be already so popular for one class that registration might be refused elsewhere, e.g., LAURA ASHLEY for perfume.

Once you feel comfortable that the mark is not in use, or too similar to any existing registrations, you should consider whether it is descriptive or generic (e.g., no one can register SOAP for cleaning products; no one can register JUNIORS for young ladies fashions, no one can register GEAR for gym bags).

Government filing fees for trademark are $325 per class. That is to file U.S. applications for trademark in two classes CLOTHING and COSMETICS the government fees would be $650.

Our firm will normally charge an additional $274 for the preparation of the application - (for the 1st class); and $105 for the second.

During our "RECESSIONARY MADNESS" special, we are reducing the cost of trademark preparation by $20. Therefore to file a Basic Application in one class, it would cost $579; and for two classes the total fees would be $1009.

If you have already used the mark, you will need to indicate the date which you first used it in commerce. We will also need two copies of any specimens that show use in each class. That is, for clothing, two catalog photos of shirts (showing the mark embroidered or printed on the clothes), or hang tags, or labels as attached to the goods at the time of sale. For cosmetics, bottle wrappers, labels or display materials might be good specimens showing use of the mark.

If you have not yet used the mark, you may file an Intent-To-Use application which may preserve your rights if someone else should seek to register in the meantime until you get ready to use the mark. There are a few extra details and fees associated with an Intent-To-Use application, like you need to send in the specimens once you finally use the mark.

If you plan to sell internationally, you may also wish to seek registration elsewhere, including Foreign Trademark registries and you should also consider domain name reservations.

On the other hand, if you expect to limit your sales to one or two States only, or if you need more immediate protection for a hot new mark, you might want to register the name locally (e.g., with the Secretary of State for California, and a DBA filing at the County Recorder.)

Finally, there are other ways to protect marks and designs such as the bottle shape,(think Bijan's "O" shaped bottle; the packaging (think Tiffany's trademark blue color; or Sweet 'N Low's pink color) and even the emblems or designs used (Louis Vuitton LV; Chanel; Gucci; Mercedes, etc.) these can often be protected by either trademark or copyright (or both!)

I hope that we have answered your questions.

Good luck with your new business.

Anderson & Shippey

Offices in Irvine and San Franciso, California
Websites everywhere

www.brandxperts.com - TRADEMARKS
www.copyrightspros.com - COPYRIGHTS
www.namesavers.net - DOMAIN NAMES

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