By Kyona McGhee
In a day and age where genius ideas, heart-tugging art, and groundbreaking business concepts are flooding our timelines every second of the day, it is more important than ever for creatives, and entrepreneurs alike protect their intellectual property. Unfortunately, most creatives and entrepreneurs don’t realize the importance of protecting their stuff until they’re hit with a cease and desist letter themselves, or a bigger influencer has copied their idea and cashing in on it. Let’s change this now. The most common misconception among young and more seasoned entrepreneurs alike is the idea that a Limited Liability Corporation (more often referred as a “LLC”) is equivalent to a federal trademark. This concept could not be further from the truth. There are huge differences between the two, and here’s how to determine the benefits of an LLC v. Federal Trademark
An LLC is a specific business structure most commonly used for single owner business or a small group of owners. The LLC is the method by which your business taxes are “passed through” from the business owners to the government. In lay terms, an LLC provides a layer of separation from the individual and the company, while also informing the state that this person/group will be responsible for the business taxes under this entity.
A federal trademark on the other hand has nothing to do with your taxes or the early states of forming a business in your state. A federal trademark protects brand names, logos, slogans, and signature product names from being copied by other people/brands without any recourse. Federal trademarks are enforced across the county, unlike state trademarks which are not allowed to use the coveted ® symbol. This coveted ® symbol tells the world this brands is backed and protected by the federal government as being owned by “_______*insert person/business name here*______.”
Although an LLC or corporation formation is still an important step for entrepreneurs, the equally if not even more important step is the security of a federal trademark for one’s brand/business. Especially when ideas are bouncing around on social media freely around the clock.
Lucky for us, Michigan is now home to a boutique law firm specializing in federal trademark protection, TrademarkMyStuff.com If you’ve made this common mistake of launching a business without federal protection, now is perfect time to reach out their firm for assistance. You can also check the status of your brand name for free using USPTO.gov.
Friends don’t let friends create brands without brand security. Start protecting your intellectual property now.