Claiming Your Label Name: A Guide for Small Businesses

Your label name is the thing that your customers will associate with your business. You need to associate your company’s name with what you do so that you can build your brand and distinguish yourself from your competitors. Your trade name will also be the official name of your operation, so you need to protect it as an important asset.

 

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Basics of label names for business

When you start a company, thinking of a name for your business is an important part of the process. You will need to find a name that is not already in use so do your research to come up with something unique. Your business name is also an important branding tool, allowing you to appeal to potential customers before they know any more about you. 

 

Your label name needs to be something that you can advertise wherever you talk about your business, such as:

 

  • Website
  • Merchandise
  • Business cards
  • Social media posts
  • Packaging
  • E-mails
  • Printed materials
  • Promotional items
  • Advertising

When you brainstorm your logo, think about the design and color with these materials in mind. Your image should work in a variety of different sizes and formats and be recognizable in black and white as well as in full color.  

 

Related: How to Grow Your Business

 

Three crucial steps to choosing a label name

When choosing and protecting your label name, you want to pick something that you can build your brand around. Time spent on researching it will be a great investment in the future of your organization. Your marketing strategy will rely on customers being able to remember your label, so follow these three steps to choose one that will work for you: 

 

1. Choose something original

Research your industry and ensure that you stay away from names that are similar to other organizations in your sector. As you come up with ideas, check online to see if there are other businesses using them and rule out any which are too similar to existing companies. Use the Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS) on the United States Patent and Trademark Office website.

Check whether any of your ideas have negative connotations associated with them and research any other usages of the words or phrases used. You don’t have to register your trademark, but if you do want to, then your branding will be assessed to ensure that it isn’t too similar to anything already registered and that is already being used commercially. 

 

2. Make sure you pick something easily recognizable

Make sure your label name is simple, easy to spell and, if possible, related to what your business does to help customers remember it. Create a logo that will make your branding recognizable and tie it into some element of your business. Protect your intellectual property, such as your logo, with a trademark and register the business name to give yourself a distinct brand. 

 

3. Consult an expert

Your label name is such a big part of the business’s identity that you need to make sure you are doing everything you can to make your venture a success. Seeking legal advice to help you protect your company’s assets could be a good investment. Trademark law can be complex and requires detailed knowledge of the processes involved, so specialist input can help.

 

An effective brand can be your company’s most valuable marketing tool if used correctly, so it needs careful management.

 

Related: 10 Steps to Starting a Business

 

Label name FAQs

If you still have questions about claiming your label name, then here are some key things to know:

 

What do I need a trademark for?

You can register a trademark for a symbol, design, slogan, logo, name or anything that is associated with your brand. Register a trademark to ensure that you have exclusive rights to use your designs to sell your products or services. Registering your trademark is a way of proving that you have been using the name and preventing others from using design assets or a name that is the same or too similar to yours. Apply to register a trademark using the Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS).

 

What is copyright?

Copyright offers protection for your original output. Whenever you create something for your business, whether it’s a promotional video, a report or the logo you use for your branding, you own the copyright as soon as you create it. Registering your copyright is a way to prove that you created the original work and when, both of which can be invaluable in the event of a dispute. Register on the United States Copyright Office website and the process can take up to eight months to complete. 

 

If you are granted copyright, it will be dated from the day of receipt of your application, not the date on which it was approved.

 

What happens to your application?

When you apply for a trademark, the United States Patent and Trademark Office searches their records for any registered marks that are the same or similar to the one you are trying to register. If there are any that are deemed too similar to your application, then you will need to re-apply. If there aren’t, then the details of your application will be published in the Official Gazette of the United States Patent and Trademark Office. There will be a month during which any objections can be raised, and if none are forthcoming, then your application will be approved.

 

What happens after your trademark is granted?

In order to maintain your trademark registration, you will need to file maintenance documents every five years. This will show that you are still using the trademark in order to receive ongoing protection from the United States Patent and Trademark Office. If you fail to submit the forms between the fifth and sixth years and the ninth and tenth years, then your trademark could expire or be canceled.

 

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