How to Trademark Your Personal Name
Trademarking your personal name is a great idea.
While no one can stop you from using your personal name in real life, they can prevent you from using it in business.
Here's how to trademark your name in 3 simple steps:
1. Review your name
A lot of words can't be protected with trademarks. If you can't trademark it, then anyone can sell your same products with your same name. That doesn't help your company stand out in the marketplace and leads to lost customers.
You can trademark your full name. But the trademark office doesn’t allow you to trademark common last names alone.
2. Run a Trademark search
The number of trademark applications is skyrocketing, especially in popular areas like apothecary or apparel products. If your personal name is similar to an existing trademark, you won't be able to protect it and you'll likely receive a cease and desist letter in the mail demanding that you rebrand or face a lawsuit.
Let's avoid that!
A trademark search allows you to see if your personal name is too similar to an existing company. It's not as simple as inputting your exact name and hitting search. You'll need to search for similar sounding words, similar spelled words, alternate pronunciation of words, complex words, foreign translations, and words found in other trademark registers. Once you get all the necessary search results, you'll need to analyze trademark law and policies to determine if any conflicting results will hold up your application.
It's probably best to call in an expert to run your trademark search. It needs to be done correctly to make sure that your name is available before you begin a trademark application.
3. File your trademark application
Trademarks give you the exclusive rights to use the name nationally. So if someone else registers your trademark, they’ll own the rights to your name nationally. You'll only be able to use it in your geographic region (typically your city). That's not ideal!
Think about how many brand pieces feature your company name: your website, social media, business cards, products, marketing materials, press links, inventory, etc. If you want to operate nationally, you'll need to change all of that, pull back all inventory with the brand on it, and possibly pay monetary damages. You'll lose customers, money, and valuable momentum.
So, if you find a great name, you need to file your trademark application now!