Wednesday, April 17, 2013

how to trademark + protect your business name or ideas

You’ve officially decided to follow your dream.

Whether you’re ready to reveal the product you’ve been meticulously developing in your workshop or studio to the world, or you’re ambitiously opening your own restaurant, bar, bakery or boutique, you should step back a moment and consider the name of your product, business or service from a legal perspective—you’ll thank yourself later.

There is definitely a cost to choosing the wrong business name, which is exactly what two Portland bar owners have become acutely aware of since opening their northwest kitchen and lounge almost two years ago. The lesson Sepal Meacham and Josh Johnson (of the recently renamed Paymaster Lounge) would like you to take away from their experience is that you can easily save yourself undue stress, as well as wasted time, money and energy, if you take basic trademark law into consideration when selecting your business’ name.

Even if you’ve had the perfect name in mind for years, you’d be wise to pay attention to the following advice before you publicly brand yourself under that moniker. And if you don’t necessarily have that name picked out, pay attention so you can do it right the first time.

Determine If Your Product Is Eligible For a Trademark

But first, what is a trademark?

Subscribe to Neighborhood Notes' small business education center, Local U, to read the rest of this article as well as two more about frequently asked trademark questions on international registration and how long it takes to receive a trademark.

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