Should I register a trademark for my business name, product name, or both?

This is a common question. 

Many businesses register both the business name and product names. In fact, the default should probably be to register both, in part to protect your intellectual property, and in part, for a presumption of the right to exclusively use your trademark in commerce. However, a business name is not always a trademark, so it will depend on how you are using your business name, or plan to use your business name. If you use your business name purely to reference the business and not in the form of a trademark, then you might not need or want to register it. For example, if you offer a service online and your business is WOW XYZ Inc. and you merely list that name on your website, perhaps with your address, there would be no need to register it. However, if you want to build brand recognition with your business name, in the form of a trade name, and you refer to the business name at times as WOW XYZ retail services or WOW XYZ is listed at the top of the website prominently and the website describes your service, then it would likely be beneficial to register your business name. If you register the business name you would probably want to drop the “Inc.” and just register WOW XYZ. Much like NIKE might register the name NIKE, but not NIKE, INC. Nearly always, it is a good idea to register your product/service name as a trademark. The product/service name is used to modify the proper noun associated with the product or service. For example, FISHMAN amplifier. Or, ROTO-ROOTER repairs. If you sell software that is going to have multiple versions, then you might register the name of the software but perhaps not the extensions. For example, you might register WINDOWS rather than WINDOWS 7. 

For more information about registering company names, product names, service names, taglines, etc. give us a call at 503-439-6500 for a free consultation.

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