Trade Name vs. Trademark—How To Tell Them Apart
Once your small business starts to grow, you will need to put more effort into protecting your brand and products from your competitors and ensuring that your intellectual property is safe.
What may confuse you is trade name vs. trademark—what’s the difference? In this article, we will explain this and show you how you can file a trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) using DoNotPay.
Check out the following table to see the main differences between trademarks vs. trade names:
|Trade Name vs. Trademark||Scope||Duration||Obligatory|
|Trade Name||Whole company||Company’s lifetime||Yes|
|Trademark||Product or service||Ten years, renewable||No|
A trade name represents the official name of your company. State and federal offices will use it for administrative and legal purposes, such as IRS corporate tax returns.
A trade name is also known as:
- DBA (doing business as)
- Assumed name
- Fictitious name
- Corporate name
This name is necessary when you decide not to use your personal one to conduct business. To register it, you will need to visit your state government or your county clerk’s office, depending on state regulations.
While a trade name is a legal necessity that allows you to act as a business representative, it does not provide you with any legal protection from potential infringement, brand or product copying, and similar.
Getting a trade name doesn’t come with the protection of that name—others can still use it freely. In theory, you do not need that protection as it is only your company’s legal name—unless you want to turn it into a brand, which is usually the case.
What happens when your customers begin associating your trade name with a certain level of quality and prestige? What if you come up with a unique idea for a product?
In any such scenario, you will want to protect your brand or property and stop other companies from copying your work and tricking your customers into buying their products or services.
That’s where trademarks come in—once you register a trademark with the USPTO, you will have legal grounds to sue anyone who uses your mark. If you’re wondering whether you should get a trademark, bear in mind that it can help you:
- Protect your trademarked property legally and sue for compensation
- Have proof of ownership that will stand in the federal court
- Stop any infringing goods from entering or leaving the United States
- Get protection on a state, federal, or international level
Unlike a trade name, which can be only one, you can have multiple trademarks, and each of them can belong to a different class. A trademark can also be about the whole brand or revolve around a certain part of it, including:
The process of registering a trade name is straightforward—all you need to do is visit the appropriate office and fill out a form that will ask you for a varying amount of information, depending on your state and county.
Although you don’t have to register a trademark, choosing to do so is a lot trickier than getting a trade name as you’ll need to prove you are its rightful owner.
Before you even begin filling out the application form, you should research the USPTO database to see if something similar already exists. Remember—your trademark needs to be unique and not in any way related to a different one.
Aside from filling out the form correctly, you will need to meet other requirements, which differ depending on the type of trademark you are after.
The USPTO allows you to complete the application process online, but if you have never done it before, you should seek guidance. Many applications get turned down due to minuscule details.
You can either:
- Hire an attorney—They can complete this process for you, but bear in mind that you will have to pay them a lot of money. Getting a trademark is already costly enough
- Use DoNotPay—When you register for our app, you will get an AI-powered helper that will do the same job at a significantly lower cost
DoNotPay is the most effective way to file a trademark request with the USPTO. Our app will ask you to provide all the necessary information so you don’t leave out any details, and we do not require hundreds of dollars to do that.
We will do a clearance search to check for the desired trademark’s availability. You only need to:
- Use your browser to sign up for DoNotPay
- Select the Trademark Registration product
- Answer a few questions from our chatbot
- Pay the necessary USPTO fees
As a business owner, you are bound to deal with various complex processes. Luckily, DoNotPay can help you handle most of those procedures stress-free. Do you need to register your business name as a trademark, file the self-certification request with the Privacy Shield program, or report illegitimate and inappropriate negative reviews? Our app enables you to do it within minutes.
That is not all we can do for you! With our nifty products, you can make the filing of 83(b) election forms a breeze and take care of DMCA agent and Employer Identification Number (EIN) registration in no time.
Need a solution that will facilitate correspondence with your business associates or clients? DoNotPay has the right faxing and mailing product for you!
Drafting legal documents does not have to be complicated or expensive. DoNotPay has a variety of tools that you can use to get a:
- Letter requesting a loan for your small business
- Cease and desist demand regarding your trademark (if someone tries to use your business name, logo, or slogan)
- Formal demand letter requesting a client to pay for your services
- Personalized chargeback rebuttal document based on the:
- Chargeback reason
- Chargeback code
- Service you offer