Today I want to talk to your about one of the biggest legal mistakes I see entrepreneurs, specifically online entrepreneurs make when they are starting their businesses.
And no, it's not stealing classified documents and claiming that you thought they belonged to you…
No, this mistake is far worse and could potentially cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars or more.
What is this ghastly mistake?
Not taking seriously the names you pick for your business.
And I'm not just talking about your business name here.
We are also referring to your slogans, your logos, the name of your podcast and even the name of your signature course.
When entrepreneurs don't take these things seriously, I see them make one of two potential mistakes.
Mistake #1 – Picking a Name that is Too Descriptive
First, they pick a name that is super descriptive of what they are selling, such as:
- The Business Accelerator
- Crypto Profits
- Stock Market Foundations
- Tennis for Beginners
You get the idea.
On the one hand, these are great names because they tell the potential student or customer exactly what they are going to learn if they enroll in your program.
On the other hand, you can't trademark descriptive names such as “business” or “crypto” or “stock market”. If you could, that would make no sense as nobody else would be able to use those names with regards to their businesses.
What is the implication of this?
Well, let's say you create a course entitled “Crypto Profits”, and it does extremely well. In fact, it does amazing. You are over the moon ecstatic.
But then one day you notice that your sales are dropping.
And when you dig in to do more research, you find that someone else decided to capitalize on your success and create another course entitled “Crypto Profits”.
Even though you have become known in the marketplace for YOUR course, because you picked a descriptive name that you don't own, someone else is able to swoop in steal your profits.
Mistake #2 – Picking a Great Name but Not Protecting It
The second major mistake I see people make is picking a fantastic name, but not doing anything to protect it.
Here is the problem with this approach.
You do your research, you conduct a trademark search, and you find a great name that nobody is using.
Then you start to build your business around that name but never take the time to protect it by filing a Federal Trademark.
Even though you have this great name, you don't own the rights to that name.
Which means that just like in our first situation, someone else can swoop in and file a Trademark for your name, essentially stealing it from you.
But in this situation, rather than just stealing some of your profits, they can steal your ENTIRE BRAND, forcing you into an expensive and costly rebrand.
But… don't I have common law rights?
Technically, yes. But the cost of hiring a lawyer to file a motion to cancel a mark that has already registered is expensive and your chance of success is slim.
It's better to just claim your naming rights from the beginning.
Hopefully you found this instructive and helpful.
Trademark Services from Hawthorn Law
Want to talk about a name you are thinking about trademarking? I am offering a free strategy call to discuss what goes into filing your trademark. Click here for more details.