While I’m not a lawyer, the best I can tell you is that trademarking your company is at least $500-$2,000 depending on if you want state trademarks or a trademark for the entire US. So this is something you may want to do when you get bigger. But many companies do not trademark their names. Some names that are descriptive can’t even be trademarked.

Trademarking your business name protects you from the possibility of someone starting a company with your business name and forcing you to change it. One of the reasons I love generic and descriptive names for a company is that they can’t easily be trademarked until you’re a household name.

But generic names can be bad, for example, if you were to google a generic name like “Aromatherapy Candles” there may be other companies named the same thing, so it may be hard to find your specific company.

My Own Experience

I went through a little bit of this process with Markets for Makers before I called it off. First, I had to hire a lawyer for my specific case because it wasn’t cut and dry. I put $1500 on account with the lawyer so he would begin working (they normally want money upfront which they later debit). Then he did some research for me and called me to tell me what he had researched. (Keep lawyer calls brief! You’re charged by the minute!)

Basically, someone had trademarked Makers Market in 2013 and we had to prove that it was in use before that time and that “Makers Market” is a descriptive word like Farmers Market and this shouldn’t legally be able to be trademarked.

He also felt that Markets for Makers had to grow a little bit more into a bigger brand so that it is a recognizable name because it is so descriptive.

The truth is, if someone tried to name their company the same as mine, I think that I would be able to show proof of owning my company for longer and using the name for a long time.

It is actually one of the reasons I named my company the way I did, it’s descriptive, easy to google search and would not be easily claimed in the future.

Bottom line, it was worth the money once we grew to a certain size to hire my lawyer so that he could assure me I would be ok, and that he’s there to defend me if I ever needed him. Worst case scenario, I know that a name is only a name. It’s hard to beat someone that won’t quit and no matter what our name is, we will succeed.

You do not succeed because of your name, you succeed because of your hustle.

Check the Trademark Database Before Naming Your Company

Before you name your company, you may want to look into the US Trademark Database as well as any for State Trademark DatabaseThe reason I mention this is that sometimes companies will trademark their names and they have the legal ability to get you to change your name later down the road.

I knew of one company that had a unique name for their candle company and a year or two in, they had to change their name.

The good thing about Trademarks is that someone may only claim a trademark in a certain category, in a state (they’re expensive!) and so you can still have the same name in a separate state in the same category.

The only caution I have on this is that if you google your name and find the same name but two different companies, it may get confusing. But luckily, Google will pull up the results to your search with places that are closer to you unless they’re a national brand.

Trademarking and Instagram

One nice thing about getting a trademark and investing the money is that you can use this trademark to claim a popular Instagram name.

I’m sure I’m not the only person that has been stuck in the position where the name that I want is taken, private, hasn’t been active in years and has 10 followers.

This allows your company to submit to take over a user name that has already been claimed.

Still need help figuring out whether to trademark? Check out this article

Have any advice to give or questions on trademarks? Add them in the comments below!

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