After being in business for 7 years known as Trajectory Consulting, LLC, I thought I had the right to that name in the State of California. I am registered with the state, filed taxes, built credit, Google verified, and have been proudly using my business name as a brand until the unthinkable happened.
Another company began using my name in the same state and just 1 county over from me. They are using it as a business consultant as well. Not exactly the type of consulting I do but close enough for my customers to possibly associate their name with mine. And at the same time, another company with a similar name got a credit card application with my personal name on it. There are now even similar names throughout the US. What was going on? It’s kind of like an identity thief getting ahold of your personal information. You feel violated and at great business and financial risk.
After a sad conversation with an IP Attorney, I realized there was nothing I could really do to stop them without significant attorney fees and battles. My right to use the name was simply common law and I was basically powerless to enforce it. Some letters and demands could go out but they weren’t obligated to do anything about it. And as I am not financially prepared to go to battle for my company name? It could easily get into the 10's of thousands in no time. So, what’s a business owner to do?
The overwhelming answer was dependent upon how I was using my business name and its branding. If I only held a shingle outside my door and wasn’t really doing marketing, then just do what I originally did, do due diligence on a name, register it, and off you go.
But, if I am conducting business interstate and branding is important to my product offering, then I should really protect my business from claims made by others. That protection is called a Federal Trademark and the approval process is a lot more detailed than a simple filing of an application. Your Trademark requires a supportive case on the reason you are filing, the correct classification, and the use of the name and or logo in legal language. This is where you absolutely NEED legal guidance. Don't go at it alone or on one of those cheap sites or you are wasting time, money, and the chance of success or even the chance of loss due to someone else getting the mark before you.
So, when should a business get a Trademark? As soon as you know you have a viable business idea, intellectual property, and important branding that you want to identify with your company. The earlier the better. And in my case, I’m doing it RIGHT NOW!
Keep watch as my new business name, branding, and marketing come out over the next few weeks. I have done my due diligence and have filed the initial applications. As soon as I get the file numbers back, I will launch and announce the new branding to you all.
It’s a funny way that The Powers around us throw a curve ball our way at, want I hope to be, just the right time. As I am launching my 3rd book and releasing a new program, and doing more interstate business. It is better to protect all of my great ideas and branding so that my audience doesn’t mistakenly go with someone else on my marketing dollar.
BIG LESSONS LEARNED here. I hope that my scary tale has sparked a few thoughts in you. If you would like an introduction to an IP Attorney that has the expertise and understands the small content creators, consultants, and training programs, DM me.
Marcia Riner is a business growth strategist. Small Business Owners come to Marcia looking to 2X - 3X their revenue and profitability without spending an additional dollar on marketing or advertising. In fact, she is able to show prospective clients a clear ROI to working with her before they decide to hire her. Don't believe it? Let her prove it to you in just a few minutes.
Marcia hosts a weekly podcast with videos on YouTube @ www.Youtube.com/profitwithaplan and audio @ www.profitwithaplan.com. She is constantly sharing business growth tips on all of her social channels @marciariner
Marcia has created an incredible FREE webinar that will show you how you can boost your net profit by 45% in just 30 days. Go check it out while you can @ www.30dayProfitBooster.com