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Question added to topic Grow Your BusinessDecember 2, 2008

Is it necessary to trademark my business name?

My wife and I have recently started a new company that is beginning to expand into other geographical markets. We asked our attorney if we should trademark the name to prevent others from using it on similar products and he advised us that it is not necessary. I keep feeling like we should and would like a second opinion.
As an entrepreneur, you are wise to seek a second opinion, especially in matters of intellectual property. Your attorney is right to the extent that you don't need to trademark your business name in order to use it in another state. Business names are determined by the Secretary of State of the state you're based in.

For the most part, once you choose a name, it's yours. But that also means that companies in other states could have the same name as yours. However, if you're looking to expand to other geographic markets, you will want to start developing goodwill through consistent branding. Speak to an intellectual property/trademark specialist to discuss how best to handle your branding roll-out and protection. Like consulting with doctors, it never hurts to have a second opinion.

Nina L. Kaufman, Esq. is an award-winning New York City attorney, edutainer and author. Under her Ask The Business Lawyer brand, she reaches thousands of entrepreneurs and small business owners with her legal services, professional speaking, information products, and LexAppeal weekly ezine. She also writes the Making It Legal blog.

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