How to Protect a Business Name. While your products and services help your business earn profits, your business name helps distinguish you from other companies. New companies in your community may try to borrow your business name, image or products without your permission. In order to protect your market share in a community, you need to protect your company's name.
Determine Ways of Guarding Your Business Name
Preserve the originality of slogans and images associated with your business name through a trademark. Trademarks protect symbols or words that distinguish your business from similar companies in the marketplace. The United States Patent and Trademark Office provides important reasons to protect your business name (see Resources below).
Keep your company's training programs and instruction books protected with a copyright. Copyright protection can be applied to any creative endeavor that is originally authored by the applicant. While copyright protection is implicit in the creation of an instructional text, obtaining a copyright typically gives you a stronger case in court.
Patent your manufacturing processes and products in order to protect your company's reputation. Your business name is closely associated with the quality and originality of your products. The use of a patent on the products you create allows you to sue those who infringe on your intellectual-property rights.
Join your local chamber of commerce to help protect your business name and reputation. These organizations help advocate for the rights of businesses in your community and attempt to foster a positive atmosphere for economic growth. The promotional and legal tools offered by your chamber membership can help avoid confusing duplication by other companies.
Seek legal action against any company that infringes on your intellectual property rights. While repeated lawsuits may prove to be expensive, the strength of your company's reputation relies on the unique nature of your product. The key to winning an intellectual property suit is to prove that a new company's use of a similar name will hinder your company's financial growth.
Retain an intellectual-property lawyer if you feel that legal issues will arise in the near future. A good example is a suit involving a company that has copied multiple aspects of your business. Most attorneys will take a small fee on retainer and gather their fees from money gained through a court decision.