I hear this myth all the time: “My brand is protected because I organized my business with the Secretary of State.” I also hear the related myth: “My brand is protected because I acquired the domain name.” It is well settled that neither of these acts secure your rights in a brand, even if your brand is the exact same as the entity name or domain name.
Without diving into the nuances, the purposes served by the Secretaries of State or ICANN when authorizing the entity names or domain names is not at all related to trademark rights. While both of these steps are important for setting up a business, and either can be evidence that you intend to use a certain brand, neither process provides adequate rights in a brand.
At its core, there are 4 steps to brand protection, and there is no substitute for any of these steps. First, search the brand to ensure you can gain adequate rights in the brand. Second, decide what method(s) you should use to record your ownership interest. Third, continue policing your brand to make sure your rights are remaining strong. Finally, decide what enforcement steps you should take when you find potential infringers.
Please call us for a free initial consultation if you want to ensure your use of your brand is not leading you to troubles. We’re brand counsel for the Great Resignation.