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What’s in a company or product name? Goodwill!

Protecting your business’ goodwill starts when you select a name for your business, product, or service. The ideal for trademark protection is that when a person reads your name they should not immediately know the qualities or characteristics of your product or service. For example, “Fast Cleaning Services” for maid services is merely descriptive. A more appropriate name could be “Dust Off”. It does not immediately bring to mind “cleaning services.” If you select a merely descriptive name, it will take a long time before you can protect it and prevent competitors from using it.

When you have selected a name, you need to conduct a trademark search. This search will reveal whether that name or confusingly similar names are used by competitors to sell similar goods or services. Similar names used for different products and services generally do not prevent your use of the name. You should start by an internet search. If that search reveals nothing, you can use a professional search company for a fee.

To protect your name, you can register it with the United States Patent and Trademark Office whether you are currently using it or not. If you are still in the planning stage of your business, you will need to start using the name within six months.

Once you have registered your trademark, you must continue using it in order to avoid losing it through abandonment. You can also conduct routine internet searches to discover competitors who might be using your name.