How To Know If Your Small Business Needs a Trademark

April 16, 2024

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As a small business owner, there are lots of things you have to consider when it comes to the legal side of things, and honestly, even as a lawyer who has a pretty good grip on all of those ins and outs, it can still feel confusing and overwhelming at times. 

When you’re first starting your business, you likely go through the same questions that a lot of business owners have:

What’s an LLC and how do I get one? 🤔
What do I do about taxes? 🙄
Does this law apply to me? What about this one? 🤷🏻‍♀️
Is this legal? Am I gonna go to jail? 🥲

Trust me, I’ve received all of these questions in some form at least a time or two over on Instagram and while I understand that starting and owning a business can feel overwhelming and it can be a lot to keep up with, I truly believe that when you have the right tools and resources, it can be pretty simple. 

In fact, that’s the very reason my business – The Boutique Lawyer – exists. To help make the sometimes daunting legal world a little more approachable. 

In this blog post specifically, I’ll be diving into another common question that I receive and that is, “do I need a trademark?”

Just like LLCs, taxes, and other business laws can be confusing, trademarks tend to really throw people off, so I want to help ease some of that confusion and provide some clarity.

Keep reading to learn the purpose of a trademark and how to know if your small business needs one. 

The Purpose of a Trademark

First things first, let’s get clear on what a trademark even does!

Put simply, trademarks serve multiple essential functions in business operations, but primarily act as distinctive symbols that consumers associate with specific goods or services, facilitating brand recognition, and fostering trust among customers.

They offer legal protection, shielding brands from unauthorized use or infringement by others, which helps prevent consumer confusion by ensuring that people can easily identify the source of products or services and make informed purchasing decisions.

Additionally, trademarks represent valuable assets for businesses, enhancing brand value and enabling effective marketing and advertising strategies. Overall, trademarks play a pivotal role in safeguarding brand identities, maintaining market reputation, and promoting competitiveness in the marketplace.

One of the biggest benefits of having an enforceable trademark as a business owner, is that you can feel more comfortable spending money on marketing knowing that you’re deterring competitors from coming.

Take McDonald’s for example – some of its unique identifiers aka trademarks would be the name ‘McDonald’s’, the Golden Arches, Ronald McDonald, a number of menu items including the Big Mac and Chicken McNuggets, and even the lyrics and music to the jingle “I’m Lovin’ It.”

The McDonald’s trademarks are what keep a company named “MacDonalds” from riding the coattails of McDonald’s marketing burgers and fries to people who believe they are buying a Big Mac. 

So, how exactly can you know if your small business needs a trademark? ⬇️

How To Determine If Your Small Business Needs a Trademark

Determining whether your small business needs a trademark involves considering several factors related to your brand identity, products or services, and future growth plans.

When trying to decide if you need to enter the trademarking process, ask yourself:

➡️ Does your business have a unique name, logo, slogan, or symbol that sets it apart from competitors? If so, securing a trademark can protect your brand identity from infringement and unauthorized use by others.

➡️ Do you plan to expand your business nationally or internationally? Trademarks provide exclusive rights to use your brand name or logo in commerce, helping prevent confusion among consumers and establishing your brand presence in new markets.

➡️ Does your business offer unique products, services, or innovations that differentiate it from competitors? A trademark can safeguard your brand’s reputation and distinguish your offerings from imitations or counterfeit products in the marketplace.

➡️ Does your business have an online presence, such as a website, social media profiles, or e-commerce platforms? Securing a trademark can protect your digital assets and prevent others from using your brand name or logo online without permission.

➡️ Is your brand gaining recognition and goodwill among customers? A trademark can help build brand loyalty and trust by providing consumers with a consistent and recognizable brand identity that is protected under intellectual property law.

➡️ Are there competitors in your industry who may attempt to copy or imitate your brand name, logo, or marketing materials? Registering a trademark can deter potential infringers and give you legal recourse to enforce your intellectual property rights.

➡️ Do you envision your business growing and evolving over time? Obtaining a trademark can offer long-term protection for your brand assets and enhance the value of your business in the eyes of investors, partners, and potential buyers.

Need a hand with trademarking your business?

Ultimately, the decision to pursue a trademark for your small business depends on your specific circumstances, industry dynamics, and risk tolerance.

Sometimes the answer to “do I need a trademark?” is a resounding “YES!”, but other times it may not actually be necessary. 

The best way to truly know what’s best for you and your business is to consult with a trademark attorney to better understand the ins and outs of the trademark process and be guided through it all effectively.

At The Boutique Lawyer, I have various trademark packages for you to choose from based on where you’re at in your business and where you plan to go.

So, if you’re ready to start protecting your business and brand, CLICK HERE to learn more and schedule your consultation.

We’ll meet you where you’re at and help you start the trademarking process with total confidence!


If we haven’t had the chance to *virtually* meet yet, hey I’m Amber – not a regular lawyer, but a cool lawyer that helps online business owners sell without getting sued. 

If you like what you just read and want more cool lawyer things in your life, here’s a few ways to stay connected:

Let’s be pen pals! Subscribe to my email list to receive all of my best biz tips and behind the scenes goodies to keep your business bringing in sales (legally of course).

Binge the blog to get all of the legal information you need about running a business in a way that actually makes sense to your non-legal brain.

Come hang with me on the ‘gram! I often do AMA’s on stories, so you can submit your specific questions when they come up.

And if you’re in need of legal resources that you can ACTUALLY understand? Here’s a few ways I can help:

Step into TBL’s free library of legal resources for creative entrepreneurs where we throw open the doors and spill the tea on what works and what doesn’t when it comes to legal protection, systems and sales.  

Browse the contract shop to find what’s missing in your biz and easily implement it with a plug and play template!

Join the collaborative legal membership that teaches you how to grow your business into a protected brand.
Need something else? Send me a DM! Always happy to lend a legal hand when I can.

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