Trade Name: How to Trademark Your Company Name

What is a trade name?

A trade name identifies your business. It may be your company’s name or a brand. Commonly, you may find that a business offers several product lines, each with its own trademark. The packaging across all the products may contain the company name in addition to the product name.

Need to protect your company name? Contact US patent and trademark attorney Vic Lin at 949-223-9623 or email to explore how can we trademark your business name.

Can a business name be trademarked?

When you think about it, a trade name should be no less protectable than a regular trademark since the whole purpose of a trademark is to indicate source. What better way is there to indicate the source of a product than the company name?

The issue in obtaining a trademark registration for a business name has to do with the manner in which it is displayed. For example, take the case case of EXPERIMENTAL AND APPLIED SCIENCES. In each specimen of use, the applied-for mark was displayed on one line for a four-line group:

Trade Name Specimen of Use

In the above example, the specimen was rejected for several reasons. The company name had the same color, font size, style and justification as the surrounding lines of text. It is located in close proximity to a physical address, phone number and web address.

How do you trademark a company name?

Prominence and separation of the mark are key factors. In the above example, the company name is buried within a 4-line paragraph. You do not see the designation in a larger font or separated from the rest of the text. There is no stylization in the lettering.

Trade names are trademarkable in the same way as product names can be registered. The issue lies in the usage. Your specimens of use show display the company name in a prominent and isolated manner so that it gives the impression of a trademark for the product or service. Do not bury your company name in a sentence or paragraph on your packaging.

What if your products do not have acceptable usage of your trade name?

Perhaps you have product labels similar to the failed specimen shown above. What are your options? One option is to create new specimens and use them in commerce. You can come up with new specimens that show your company name more prominently and set apart from other text. You need to make sure to actually sell your goods with the new labels or packaging.

Another option is to file an Intent-To-Use application, and not worry about specimens at the initial filing. An ITU application gives you the flexibility to create and use specimens after the filing date. However, filing an ITU application does create the connotation that the applicant has not yet used the applied-for trade name. If you would prefer to avoid such a connotation, then wait until you have acceptable specimens in order to file a use-based application.

Can the same product have two trademarks?

It is fairly common for a product to have two trademarks, the product name and the trade name. Just think of a sneaker brand you like. You may see a first trademark for the product name and a second trademark for the company name.

Need to trademark your business name?

Avoid delay and trademark your company name correctly from the beginning. Doing so will save you time and money in trademarking your business name. Contact US patent and trademark attorney Vic Lin at 949-223-9623 or email to explore working with us.

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