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Should I trademark my business name?

should i trademark my name

To what point should I protect my business name?

The answer very much depends on your situation and where you see your business in the months and years ahead. A local plumber carrying out work as a sole trader under the name JB Plumbing is unlikely to trademark his name, however he may register his name as a limited company for future use, if he feels one day he may need to move into a limited company and doesn’t want to rebrand. However, someone building a fashion brand may want to make sure no one else can come along and take their name in the fashion industry. This person is likely to register the limited company for future use as well as apply for a trademark on their name or logo.

Many people registering as a sole trader think by registering with a business name to file self-assessments they are in some way protecting their business name from others. This is not the case. Registrations at HMRC are purely for tax purposes and have no name registration benefits. There are few rules when it comes to a sole trader choosing their name. Sole traders can use almost any name to trade. The exceptions being: if the name infringes on a current trademark, implies a connection to government (local or general), is offensive or requires permission to include a sensitive word.

Limited company registration however, done with Companies House, does afford the company some protection over the business name. You can’t have two companies registered at Companies House with the same name. Similarly, names deemed too similar will not be permitted. Therefore, as long as your company name is on the register you know no one else can register the same / similar name.

Whereas sole trading businesses can trade with any name within the limitations above, Limited companies know they have the protection of company name registration although in choosing a name it must be unique.

For many businesses, a lot of thought, time and effort goes into choosing a business name. You generally need it to be distinctive, it may need to describe what trade your business is involved with or it may be important to build a brand around the name. Branding aids the potential for different future aspects or avenues for the same business.

For those embarking on building a brand. Imagine the time and money spent on creating a brand and building your reputation around that brand, you need to know your name is your own. By repeatedly using a name or logo over time you will build up some Common Law rights to that name, however a far more secure way to protect your chosen name is to register it with a governing body.

Once you’ve spent the time and effort generating your business name you need to know it’s safe for your future. Duport has a unique product; Reserve a Name. That product means that no one else would be able to create a Limited Company using your reserved name. Ideal for Sole Traders who want to protect their limited name but don’t want to trade as a Limited Company, or people with a great business idea that isn’t quite ready to launch yet.


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