To protect myself and mybusiness name from being copied and altered, do I have toregister any and all variations of the name? And is this doneseparately or is it done under the one application? … Is thiswhat I need to do in order to stop anyone from using a variationof my business name? And can my business name betrademarked along with its variations?”
This question (an extract from an email I received from a newsubscriber during the week) is a good illustration of how confusingthe purpose of and difference between business names andtrademarks can be for small business and others without readyaccess to an army of lawyers to lead them through the maze.Add your domain name to the mix and it becomes as clear asmud.In this article, we’ll look at what business names, trademarksand domain names are (and aren’t), what you can and needto do to protect them and issues to think about when decidingupon what to choose for your business and domain names andwhether trademark protection is appropriate (or even possible).YOUR BUSINESS NAMEIf you’re going to conduct your business under a “fictitious”name, i.e., one other than its legal name, you will need to registerthe fictitious name with the appropriate government agencyin your state. This usually means your local county recorder’soffice but, depending on where you live, it may mean yourstate’s Secretary of State Office. In countries other than theU.S., the appropriate body may be some sort of governmentDepartment of Small Business.