Marketing is an essential part of building a business. You count on your clients to recognize your name for the unique products and services you bring to the market.
Brand confusion happens when a company has a similar name or logo that can easily be mixed up with that of another business. Companies often take great care to protect their brand’s name and marks, but it can be a tedious and expensive process.
These are the protections you have (and do not have) when you register your LLC.
Protected, but limited
LLC registration happens at the state level through the secretary of state. When you file your LLC and register the name of your business, you get some protection for your business’s name, but it stops at the borders of your state.
Understand your plans
For a business that strictly offers goods and services within state borders, simply registering the company with the state during the LLC filing process may be enough. However, if you plan to do business across states line or over the internet, you could run into other companies with the same name, and nothing you can do about it.
As you consider what protections you need for your company name and markings, think about the future of your business and where your clients are. You may not currently operate in other states or online, but as your company grows, you may find that your LLC (or other business registration) does not provide enough protection.
What more do I need?
Determining what protections you need for your business depends on your goals for your business. When it comes to state-level protection, your state may limit another company from having the exact same name but allow variations leaving room for potential brand confusion.
Applying for a trademark for your company name and symbol can provide added protection if another business tries to use your name or other registered material. While the process can take up to a year, it can be worth it to avoid losing business due to brand confusion.