Trademark Busines Name, Phrase

Hey guys,

I have a unique business name (for example,Microsoft), and I was wondering if I should trademark/copyright the name, or is it a waste of money? Also, what about trademarking a “phrase”, string of text below the name of the company in the company graphic, also unique?

Thanks guys.

Anyone can create a common law trademark simply by putting a superscript TM after their trademark on the first use of that mark in each and every publication. A common law trademark can often create a better legal standing than a registered trademark and it costs nothing.

That depends on the prospect of the business. If you have some serious business going on you should do it.

If your business name is registered (as many countries require it to be) then you would have a lot of protection provided by that registration - at least in terms of the particular field that the business is operating in.

If another business sets up with the same name in a different market then there is no conflict but if they later try to expand into your market then you would be able to take action - either through the courts or by reaching a private agreement.

As an Example - when Apple in the USA decided to expand into the music market they made a private agreement with Apple in the UK (which had been in the music market since the early 1960s - about ten years longer than the US company had existed) - that avoided a court case that may have cost Apple in the US a lot more money.

@Jason_C creating a trademark is pretty expensive and often not worth the money, but each case is different. Once you register a business and start trading under that name you have some basic protections from others trying to “pass off” as you/your business. The name/phrase would also have to have a unique character and not really be in common parlance - but in some cases/businesses having a trade mark can be pretty important. If you’re building a brand and advertising via branding then maybe a trade mark would be very useful for example. As ever the costs and benefits vary from country to country though.

Copyright isn’t really relevant to company/business names.

@felgall there was a very long and expensive court case between Apple Computers and Apple Records. The court found in Apple Computers’ favour, but the bad blood from the way they moved into the market breaching (at least in the eyes of the surviving Beatles) their agreement is the reason that the Beatles’ music was not on iTunes for so long.