Starting any new business requires careful planning by the founders. Put simply, businesses that do not have solid and forward-thinking plans will not succeed. The ability to make a great end product is, by itself, not enough. To help you get started, I plan to publish a checklist of things related to the law you should do when you are starting your business. This is the first of this series, which discusses selecting a business name.
Step 1: Selecting Your Brewery’s Name
The name of a company is hugely important to its success or failure. This name is more than what you put on your company’s tax forms every year, it is your brand. Your brand is what consumers will associate with your product. Your brand is what your loyal customers will look for on the shelves at the beer store or order from their bartender.
When you select your brewery’s name, you should try to come up with something that is memorable. This is also the case when you select names for your beers or designs for your logos (which I will discuss in a later article). Most importantly, you must come up with a name that isn’t already being used. One of the worst case scenarios that a new brewery can encounter is to, after already investing considerable resources into developing a new brand, realize that someone else already is using that brand.
TIP: Make sure you do (or hire someone to do) a thorough trademark clearance search of your proposed company name before you settle on a name.
Once you settle on a name, register your name with the United States Patent & Trademark Office. If you have not yet begun using your name, that is fine. You can file an Intent-to-Use application, which gives you up to 3 years to begin using the mark. Registration will give you a piece of mind that nobody else will come along and take your name while you are starting your business and starting to get your name out there.
As always, please keep in mind that we live in a country that is governed not only by federal laws, but also by state and local laws. Any business must take great care to comply with all of these laws, or face peril. I have begun to compile a list of some regional laws that may be relevant to you here.
If you follow this advice, it will help you avoid huge headaches down the road. If you would like help with performing a trademark clearance search and/or preparing and filing a trademark application, my firm is available to help. Call (703) 539-2757 today for a free consultation.