February 13, 2018
Hey! It’s Legal Bae time again!
You’ve decided on your business name, you’ve checked Facebook and you don’t see anyone with a business page in these internet streets, so you are ready to make it official. Make your business official in your state, that is. You go to your Secretary of State’s website and register your business entity, and it feels good. Then, you look around and someone else is using your business name, and you are HEATED. What do you do? You send me a message. You and a few others as well. So, I am sharing some legal myth-busters with respect to the difference between business entity registration and trademark rights.
Here’s the question I’ve been getting from many business owners just like you: can someone else have a registered business in my state with a name similar to mine?
Okay, are you sitting down? You may need to be seated for this difficult truth, beloved. They can. Another business can have a business registered in your state that is similar to or the same as your business name. Unfortunately, filing a business name with the state does not automatically give a business owner sole rights to the name.
Take these 2 truths into account when you are registering your business with your state.
1. Myth: Registering my business at my Secretary of State state office is the same as a securing a trademark.
Truth: Registering a business name is NOT the same as filing for a trademark.
Registering a business name with your state allows you to do business in your state, but does not protect your business name. Think of registering with your state as a huge filing cabinet, of sorts. They hold your registration there to ensure proof is available if someone asks you about conducting business in your state.
2. Myth: The Secretary of State filing protects your business name from being used.
Truth: Your business name is NOT protected through your Secretary of State’s Office.
Your Secretary of State does not issue trademark protection. In order to protect your smarts in these internet streets you will need to file for a state or federal trademark. (I can help you with that). A state or federal trademark is the legal protection you must have in order to keep others from utilizing your business name if it’s too closely related to yours and within the same industry or class.
So, my friends, you do have a business, and you are legally able to conduct business within your state. You should be proud of making that step and getting it done. Now, in order to protect your smarts, you may want to look into filing for a trademark. Either way, keep doing great things and leaving a legacy for the future.
Chat with ya’ll soon!
P.S. Learn more about trademarks and other business knowledge in my business community, Revolutionary Creative: A Community of Breadwinners. Join HERE!
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