Do You Own Your Trademark?

Two years ago when I started down this entrepreneurial path I named my company, “Princess Sweet”, I even own Princess Sweet.com, but when I tried to file for the trademark earlier this year I was shocked to find that another company owns “Sweet Princess” trademark, so it was a potential threat, funny they don’t own the website, http://www.sweetprincess.com (it’s for sale for $2,000). They aren’t actually doing business with the name yet, but they own it, so I was advised by my attorney to consider a new name. OUCH. I loved the name, Princess Sweet– I had competed nationally with that name, everyone loved it…but, in the end, it was a reality I had to face. I had to think of something else.

I spent the next three months brainstorming, asking everyone I knew what ideas they had and even paid a consultant to come up with some names. I didn’t like any of the ones that had URLs available, until I happened upon Sweet & Charming. I almost kissed my monitor when I saw it was available “.com” on Go Daddy. I bought it and hoped for the best with the trademark search. It’s taken some time to get used to the idea of a new name, but this was all pre-branding, pre-launch, pre-major expenses, so it was a good time to do it. Now I love it even more and it has been a gift as it is more broad and versatile.

I spent some time today working with my Trademark attorney over the “class” and specifications. After you file, it still takes 8 months to see if you even “get it.” That is what makes me so frustrated. So you do an inital search and it appears good, but then someone can contest it, and it is uncertain. Meanwhile you’ve invested time and money…just keeping your fingers crossed that it will work out and you can “own it.”

Here is an article that Kimberly McCall, Marketing Angel wrote about the subject for Women’s Wall Street. I found it very helpful. She discusses the differences of patents and trademarks and when you should file and how…

images.jpgToday’s Magic Wand: If you don’t already own your trademark, research its availabilty, you can do a preliminary search on the web, but I would contact an attorney who handles trademarks to assist you with it. Your name is your brand. It is essential that you own it if you plan to do national business online or franchise.

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