Can You Trademark Your Name?

branding trademark

Hello and welcome!

It's Tamsen Horton from PBK the gathering place for preneurs worldwide. Those of us unlocking our superpowers and living our vacationing life using Kajabi. Lives and businesses we don't need to escape from. Giving us health, wealth, and family freedom.

And this is your PBK power-up for Saturday, June 1, 2019. 

What's the #1 action you take before building or creating on Kajabi?

For me, it always starts at the very beginning and that is with what am I going to call this? What brand is it going to live under? Do I have the domain? And all of those questions share one thing in common - trademark laws.

This week we've devoted to S4 Branding: How to Brand Like a Lawyer and today we're tackling a question that pops up often with online business owners.

Can you trademark your name?

Lots of people do it.

Can you?

Yes and no.

The fact is, you can only trademark a name if you use it in your business. And you’ll have to show that people are likely to think of you and your goods or services when they hear the name.

If you do use your name for the business and you are well known by the consuming public, then registering a trademark for your name might be a good idea.

As we've been talking about Trademarks this week - Trademark law protects names, logos and other “marks” that are used in commerce to identify and distinguish your goods/services from others in the marketplace for consumers.

To register your name as a trademark with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), you must use it in business. Famous personalities like Oprah and Martha Stewart can register their names as trademarks because their personal names are also their business names.

But if—like most people—you only use your name for personal purposes, you can’t register it as a trademark.

In addition, you can’t trademark your name if it is likely to be confused with other registered trademarks. That means it can’t be similar to an existing trademark if the two trademarks relate to a similar type of goods or services. Which is why with S4 Branding: How to Brand Like a Lawyer that we've focused on this week. The steps are silence, search, secure, and then share.

If you use your name in business and it’s not likely to be confused with another trademark, you face one more obstacle that may be difficult to overcome—at least until you have been using your name in the business for some time.

Personal names fall into a trademark category known as “descriptive” marks, you typically can’t register your name as a trademark unless you can also show that it has “secondary meaning,”

This happens through advertising or using it for a number of years. This means the name is so well known that when people hear it, they automatically associate it with the goods or services you provide. 

WHY even consider registering your name as a trademark?

You may have some trademark protection simply by using your name in business, when you register with the USPTO (and receive the trademark) your legal rights go nationwide.

Registration also makes it easier to establish your trademark ownership if there is a dispute, allows you to file a trademark infringement lawsuit in federal court, and makes it possible to register your trademark internationally.

Trademark registration can help you recover a domain name that has been registered by a cybersquatter. Under the Anti-Cybersquatting Consumer Protection Act, trademark owners can sue to collect damages and recover a domain name from a person who, with a bad faith intent to profit, registered a domain name similar or identical to their trademark.

That's it for today's PBK power-up if you want immediate access to the S4 Branding resources then join the free PBK Visitors' Lounge experience by clicking Unlock Your Superpowers above and dive into various aspects of being a preneur who is crazy smart and choosing to build your health, wealth, and family freedom with Kajabi. 

Have a burning question for me that you'd like answered then click Ask Tamsen.

Have a great day and I'll see you tomorrow with a new power-up!

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