Filing for trademarks is a critical piece of the puzzle when you’re first starting your business. If you’re going to rely on branding to build your company and its value, you have to do a trademark search.  You can do this on your own by going to the department of corporations trademark division online. However, doing this won’t tell you if there is someone who has a name similar to yours. If you don’t check to make sure no one shares the same or a similar name, you can be sued directly or you may be sent a cease and desist letter requesting you change the name. You can start the trademark process by going to the internet to see if someone else is already using the URL for your name. If they’re not, reserve that URL through godaddy or a service like that. It costs about $10 a year. Then you go to the department of commerce and look up the name or similar names to it. You should surround your URLS, so get the .com, the .mobi, .net, .org, if you think that that’s necessary so someone doesn’t take a name similar to yours. But, the trademark process is very important. If you can afford to do so, hire an attorney to do a search. Prices vary, but if you have an experienced trademark attorney do the search, you know you’re going to be protected on your name. The other piece of the puzzle is your investors are going to want to know that your name is covered. It’s not covered if you do it yourself. If you don’t have a budget for it, file a trademark yourself, and recognize that you’re going to have to go to an attorney to clean it up.  Filing for a trademark is $325 in one category filing fee. It’s not a lot of money and at least gives you some level of protection until you have an attorney really work on it.

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