Your restaurant’s name plays the most important role in the overall perception of the brand that you have created and its growth. How? It is the first element that represents your business everywhere and in front of new customers. Therefore, it is crucial to select a name that defines your business, is easy to recall, resonates with the future growth that you have in mind, and is unique.
Given the vast level of diversity in the restaurant and food industry in the USA, it can be challenging to come up with a name that fulfils all of the above. Therefore, once you have managed to find the perfect name for your restaurant, registering and protecting it with a trademark is the way to move forward.
The process of trademarking a restaurant’s name is not simple. We have created a step-by-step guide to help you learn how to register and trademark a restaurant name in the USA.
What Are The Benefits Of Trademarking A Restaurant Name?
A trademark essentially protects your name, logo, slogan, symbol, or design from being used or copied by your competitors. The benefits of trademarking your restaurant name are –
- It helps create a unique and recognizable brand
- It improves customer awareness and attracts a new audience
- Protects your company’s name from being infringed upon by other competitors
Trademarking a restaurant name might not be applicable to eateries in a small town or the local ice cream shop. It is usually important when any restaurant business is considering expansion to multiple locations. Even single location restaurants look into trademarking their names if set up in a high footfall area.
One of the significant criteria to apply for trademarking a restaurant name is that it must prove that it can be commercially viable in other areas apart from where it is currently located.
How To Trademark Your Restaurant Name?
The first and foremost step in order to be able to register your restaurant name as a trademark is to ensure that no other company or competitor has already used it.
To ensure that the name is unique, access the U.S. Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS) and look up an identical or similar name in the same category where you would like to register – categories of goods and services.
As per the U.S. regulations, the first company that uses the sign/name (irrespective of whether they are registered or not) is given the protection of the trademark, limited to the area within which it operates. This allows other companies or competitors to use the same name in a different locality. At the same, your application will be rejected if the exact name or a similar name is already registered in the same category of goods and services as a trademark.
Here’s a compilation of steps that you need to follow to trademark your restaurant name –
- Find out if another business already trademarks your proposed name for the restaurant. To do this, you can visit the USPTO’s database of all the registered and pending trademarks and then do a quick search for your name.
- Your application needs to be filed via the Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS). Alternatively, you can also call the USPTO and request a hard copy.
- Pay your application fee that ranges from $300-$900
- You might need to wait for around six months. Within a 30 day period, any other business is allowed to contest your ownership of the proposed name for your restaurant and request arbitration. In case you do not face any opposition and receive a notice for the same for 30 days, your trademark will be issued.
Suppose you are certain that your name is unique. In that case, it is not shared by any other company, and there are no blockers with the owner’s information; registering online will be hassle-free. You can complete the entire process without any external help.
But while you are verifying that your name is unique and a similar name comes up that can be easily confused, you will need to consider proceeding with the process with an attorney.