In our post, Wodstar’s Tribute To Box Owners, we talk about the great respect we have for entrepreneurs looking to realize their dream and that we want to help them traverse those serpentine paths.
To that end, Wodstar’s Legal Star, Robert Reder, Managing Partner of Blythe Grace PLLC, presents an ongoing series for potential Box Owners surrounding legal and business issues related to starting and running your CrossFit Box.
Let’s start with something easy…a name, right? What’s in a name? Well, in business, it’s your business and is one of your most important assets. There’s is quite a bit involved above and beyond selecting one and we discuss.
Once you have chosen your name and ensured that it is available for use, you need to protect it. If your business is organized as a corporation, limited liability company (LLC), or limited partnership, in most states you automatically register your business name when you file your articles of incorporation, articles of organization, or statement of limited partnership with your state filing office. However, you can file for trademark protection at the state and federal level to ensure that no other entity can use the same name.
As a general rule, trademark law provides legal protection to names and logos that are distinctive. Distinctive trademarks are sometimes referred to as “strong” trademarks. Strong trademarks come in two forms: They can be “born strong” because they are creative or out of the ordinary such as Yahoo, Exxon, or Kodak.
Trademarks can also become strong because they become well known to the public through use over time. Trademarks that merely describe some feature or quality of the goods or services are typically considered “weak,” and thus aren’t protectable under trademark law. However, once a trademark owner can demonstrate sales, advertising, or other public awareness of a weak trademark (known as “secondary meaning”), the trademark is considered distinctive and can be registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Examples of weak marks that have acquired secondary meaning include Peet’s Coffee, Newman’s Own Salad Dressing, and Bank of America.
Practical advice: Chose a distinctive name for your business in order to obtain the strongest level of trademark protection. Trademark protection for your business name and logo is recommended, but not required. In any event, obtaining proper trademark protection is complex and should only be done by a qualified attorney.
Check to see if a domain name closely related to the title of your business exists and is available for purchase. If so, consider purchasing any related domain names. For example, an owner may considering purchasing both www.mybusiness.com, www.mybusiness.net, www.my-business.com, and www.my-buisness.net. Using your domain name registrar (for example, Go Daddy), you can route all traffic from these relates sites to your main site.
Practical advice: Your Website is critical for generating business and allowing your current customers to obtain information and stay connected. Consider hiring a professional to design and host your Website.
For questions regarding this article, or any information presented, please contact:
Robert S. Reder
Blythe Grace PLLC
Office: (480) 663-8838
The information contained in this blog is intended to be informational only and does not establish an attorney/client relationship, nor is it meant to be legal advice for a specific matter. Please contact Robert S. Reder for any questions you have concerning the informational material contained herein.