This is a copy of a weekly posting done in conjunction with Crain’s Chicago Business.
Posted by Ann D. at 8/19/2009 6:45 AM CDT
It’s a question Score Chicago counselors hear often in their small-business workshops: How can I protect my business name and the brand names I develop?
Brian Fons of Corporate Creations and a frequent presenter at Score Chicago notes that many entrepreneurs start with a Google search. If the name does not come up in a search engine, they feel they are OK.
While an Internet search is a good start, it does not really protect you.
To really ensure that you are protected, you should first have an expert perform a trademark search.
This is a process in which a professional combs through the federal, state and common laws databases to see if the names you’ve chosen for your business or products have been claimed by someone else.
Once the name is deemed acceptable, Mr. Fons suggests the business owner have the trademark registered at the federal level.
Unless you really understand the process, it is best that you hire a professional. The search and registration should cost between $1,000 and $1,500.
You can learn more by viewing Score Chicago’s recent video interview with Mr. Fons.
More information on trademarks and copyrights is available via this YouTube video.
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