The name of a business has a massive influence on the success or decline of a company. It is impossible to dissociate brands like Nike, Gucci, or Hershey’s from the goods and services they provide.
How Do I Protect My Business Name in Florida? – Florida Registration
There are two ways to trademark a business name – register the name at the state level or the federal level.
To trademark a business name in Florida, the owner of the company must file the required application with the Secretary of State. The first step is to proceed with a trademark search and identify whether someone else has registered the same mark for the same type of business.
The registration process requires applicants to submit samples of how and where they publicly display the marks. Depending on the goods or services provided by the company, acceptable samples include labels, tags, business cards, brochures, and newspaper advertisements.
Florida trademark registration protects a business name only in the category of goods or services in which the company operates. For instance, if you register the business name of a consulting company, the trademark registration will exclusively protect that category.
If the business expands in the future, it is possible to add new categories to trademark registration.
How Do I Protect My Business Name in Florida? – USPTO Registration
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is the agency responsible for trademark registration at the federal level. When you register a trademark with the USPTO, the registration expands the geographic scope of your trademark.
Similar to registrations at the state level, the USPTO requires applicants to perform a trademark search to identify whether someone else has federally registered the same name, logo, or symbol for the same type of business.
Federal Registration vs. State Registration – An Honest Overview
If you own a company in Florida exclusively focused on doing business within state jurisdiction, state registration may be sufficient. Registering a trademark with the state of Florida is relatively easy and inexpensive, especially for newer businesses.
Another benefit of Florida trademark registration is that the protection begins on the first date of use, regardless of the application date. However, if the business has sufficient time and capital available, there are additional benefits associated with federal registration.
Federally registered trademarks have the right to use the federal registration symbol “®,” which boosts credibility and consumer confidence. In the event of an infringement, the owner of a federal trademark can file a lawsuit in a federal court.
It also helps prevent the importation of infringing foreign products, as owners of federal trademarks can record the US registration with US Customs and Border Protection. Also, owners can use it as a basis to register the trademark in foreign countries.
However, considering federal registration is complex and has increased costs, it leads many entrepreneurs to trademark a business name only at the state level.