Trademarks are inherently associated with brand identity and brand value, it is not surprising that a lot of people, laymen and businessmen included, think it is the same as a business name. Also interchangeably known as ‘trade names’, business names have often been misunderstood as granting complete legal protection to all trade-related aspects of the company, including the said business name and/or logo, sign, symbol or any other feature the company might be using as a trademark to sell their products/services without getting the same registered.
Let us walk through the key differences between the two terms, both in meaning and purpose:
A business/trade/company name is simply a name or a way to help identify a business, an entity or an individual. It is the official name under which the said entity or individual chooses to do business.
A trademark is a word, phrase, logo, symbol, design, colour or a combination of one or more of these elements that distinguishes one company’s products/services from that of another.
Business registration is necessary to first establish the identity of the business/company as a separate legal entity that will allow the company to enter into contracts, conduct sales, advertise, get into partnerships, file tax returns and perform a variety of other business activities.
Trademark is essentially to aid the consumer in identifying the actual source of such goods/services and protecting the brand name goodwill associated with the same.
Limitations to use
A brand name is granted protection by the state within the confines of the state alone, and its registration does not prevent the use of the same or similar business name in a different state, more so if such usage occurs with respect to a different field or industry.
Trademark is that intangible property you have exclusive rights over that can protect your brand identity by “legally establishing that your mark is not already being used, and provides government protection from any liability or infringement issues that may arise.