Over the past year I’ve done a few posts on starting businesses, purchasing domain names, and building websites. I’ll try to upload some of my past videos to my new YouTube channel as soon as I get a minute (🙄). I try to stay away from discussing Trademarking because I’ve never trademarked anything, and I don’t personally know the ends and outs of the process. I have read up on it and I do know that it’s very different from business formation/registration, and although you can do it on your own, it’s sometimes wise to seek help from a Trademark attorney if possible. Today I wanted to discuss trademarking because as we enter the new year there will be many new businesses launching, and some of them might be owned by us 😊. This topic has been on my mind heavily because as you know, my YouTube channel was recently suspended due to someone filing a
Trademark claim against me through the Youtube website. YouTube, who is now owned by Google, has a policy that allows for immediate termination/suspension when it comes to trademark claims. My opinion is that this policy is flawed, but that’s a different story for another day. I’m now going through an appeal process with YouTube, but I wanted to come in and give my readers some insight into what’s going on in my situation, as well as how to avoid the same issues for yourself. To give a short backstory, I was contacted by a woman claiming to own the trademark of my blog/social names. I asked her to send me a Cease and Desist letter so that I could forward it to my attorney, and we could get the ball rolling on resolving the issue. The woman basically tried to intimidate me by sending me about 5 emails threatening to sue and all of this nonsense if I didn’t immediately change my name. I simply told her to send the letter and we’ll take it from there. The story is much longer than that but I won’t bore you with every single detail. In all honesty when I started this blog I did not check to see if it was a trademarked name due to the fact that I would not be using it as my business name. I was aware that other people used the name, and quick research on those other sites showed me that we were not in the same field. which was why I was happy to continue with my usage. My reason for writing this post is because I wanted to list the Do’s and Donts of trademarking for those who might not know, and I also wanted to introduce what will now become my Business 101 Series. I’ll be discussing the different business formations as well as how to go about launching businesses in specific fields. I was already doing this series on Youtube, but I wanted to bring it here to my blog as well. I think it will be very informative and helpful for all of us. I’m always trying to see the lesson in all trials and tribulations, and I feel like this Trademarking issue was a great learning lesson for me, and ultimately opened a new door for me to expand my niche. I’ll keep you guys updated on my progress with this claim, but for now lets get to business:
DO: Understand the definition of Trademark: A trademark is a word, phrase, symbol, and/or design that identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods of one party from those of others.
DON’T: Assume that just because two people share a name, and one of them trademarks that name, that the person without the trademark is UNABLE to use the name. As long as they are not selling similar services or confusingly resemble one another, the second person is generally in the clear.
DO: Understand that registering your trademark is like indicating to everyone that this specific logo, symbol, word, name or design is exclusively used for the goods or services provided by your business.
DON’T: Make the mistake of thinking that by trademarking your name you are stopping everyone in the world from using and/or referring to that name.
DO: Conduct extensive research prior to submitting an application for registering your Trademark. It’s a very expensive and lengthy process and most of these funds will not be refunded if your application is rejected.
Overall, deciding to register your business name or logo as a trademark is an optional process and is entirely up to the owner. It might fit some businesses and it might not fit others. The best thing to do is to research as much as possible before you make a decision in either direction. In the coming weeks I’ll be discussing how to start clothing lines, cosmetic brands, hair ventures, and many other businesses. Make sure you follow me on social media to keep up with the Business 101 Series. Do you currently have or plan to have a business in the future? Are you planning to trademark it?