America has always been known for its promise of the freedom to follow one’s dreams. For many, that dream is starting their own business. However, how do you properly register your business name and logo? Starting a business is exciting but can also be stressful: you’re overcoming challenges and putting in lots of hours and effort. Fortunately, filling out name and logo (trademark) applications for business registration in California doesn’t need to cause you anxiety.
Business Name Registration
It’s time to settle on your business structure since it may need to be reflected in your name. “The factors you should consider when choosing a business structure will depend on your needs and wants for personal liability protection, tax liabilities, and paperwork to keep the company in compliance.1“
Consider using these common business structures:
- Limited Liability Company
- Limited Liability Partnership
- Limited Partnership
- General Partnership
- Sole Proprietorship
Note: The California Secretary of State website cautions that, “Effective January 1, 2021, the names of corporations, limited liability companies and limited partnerships must be ‘distinguishable in the records’ from an existing entity of the same type of record with the California Secretary of State and ‘may not be likely to mislead the public’. Chapter 361, Statutes of 2020 (SB 522 Hertzberg).”
Next, check for the availability of your desired name on the business registration in California site. You’ll be able to search for similar-named companies in California to ensure that your name is unique. Secure your name by being the first to register it. (Otherwise, you could face legal and financial difficulties down the road that may confuse your current clientele if you’re required to change your name and recreate your brand.)
Logo (Trademark) Registration
Along with your business name, your logo signifies the identity of your company to the world. That one-of-a-kind logo makes an immediate impression on the public. Besides registering your business name, your logo also needs to be registered as a trademark. The Secretary of State’s office for business registration in California keeps information and records about trademarks. You’ll search for similar trademarks already registered in California, and then you’ll fill out a registration application for your unique mark. You can apply online, through mail, or in person at the Los Angeles or Sacramento offices.
You can start using a logo commercially without registering it. However, its best to register first. Why? “Even if you have not started using the logo commercially, securing it is better. Organizations protect their trademarks zealously, thus if you file a logo that is proposed to be used, it will ensure that it will be safe and protected before you start with full branding and marketing campaign. This would, in the long run, prove to be much more profitable and beneficial for the company.2“
Registering your logo could take somewhere between 8 and 18 months. Your logo will undergo a trademark application process where it could possibly be rejected, and there may be a need for a hearing. When your application is accepted, your mark will be published in the Trademark Journal.
However, your business mark isn’t registered forever. Remember to use the Date of Registration and the Registration’s Number to renew this mark once each decade. (And, if your mark is ever modified, you’ll also need to remember to file a Modification of Registration application.)
Name and logo applications for business registration in California are easy to find on the California Secretary of State’s website. Just remember to do your due diligence and search the state’s records first before registering your own name and logo.
Best wishes on your new business! Contact UmeWorks if we can help you on your journey, including logo design!