Is “Google” a name of a company or a trademark? Sometimes, it can be really difficult to distinguish between a trademark and the registered name of a company. This distinction, while seemingly trivial, is an important one with legal ramifications. Mainly, companies want their names and logos to be copyright protected. But when you register your business name, is that what happens? Read ahead to find out about the difference between a trademark and company name.
It’s All About State vs. Federal Law
Business names are first and foremost registered with the states with a corporation or an LLC application. This disallows two or more companies to operate in the state under the same name. For example, Global Resources LLC is registered in Illinois and is a corporate entity. When we submitted our application, the Illinois state officials checked to make sure no other company under the same name operates in the state. There’s a tricky part here: what if there was another company named Gbl Resources or Global Rec? Some states find the two names too similar, while others maintain that it’s dissimilar enough to warrant as two different companies.
When you register a business as an LLC in a state, it simply means you are allowed a unique name for your company. But this only applies to the state of registration, not the other 49 states. If you don’t want a competitor to set up another business bearing the same name in a different state, then you need federal trademark law.
Federal Trademark Protection
Global Resources is a registered trademark name. That means no other business can use this name. Federal trademark protection is necessary for companies that want to expand nationwide, or want to operate out of state. A trademark refers to a phrase, a word, a design or a symbol like a logo that uniquely identifies a business, a product or a service. This trademark is distinct in the industry. The owner of the trademark is the only one with the right to use, change, or alter the name or logo. Trademarks are protected in all states and also internationally.
If your business is operating only in a single town or a state, then you may not need to file for a trademark. However, if you require additional protections for the business name, then you can begin the trademarking process. If you need any help, experienced consultants with GR-US.com are here to help.