trademarking names


Completely off the Topic of Tea

trademarking names

Postby Madam Potts » Apr 18th, '06, 17:23

It is common for tea lovers who become tea entreprenuers to take words with the end letters ""ty" and make them "TEA" like SimpliciTEA and CreativiTEA, PersonaliTEA.

Can these names be copy written so that no one else can use them? I would hate to see that happen, but in naming a potential business venture I would like to find this out...

I'd hate to be sued or given a "cease & desist" letter from Adagio or any other tea maker for using a comon name.

Any information about this would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks!
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Postby MarshalN » Apr 18th, '06, 17:57

I think these can indeed be trademarked. Don't know about specifics though.
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Postby Madam Potts » Apr 19th, '06, 14:31

I have asked Adagio specifically and have not received a response...which is a touch surprising...but hopefully some responses will come through.
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Postby Kestrel » Apr 19th, '06, 14:41

The customer service people may not know. That's generally done on the business owner's end, and unless there's a reason for people to know, it probably just doesn't get brought up.
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Postby rabbit » Apr 19th, '06, 14:56

does anyone know exactly HOW to register a business name? because I'm gonna be needing to do that before somebody takes the good one I have :wink:
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Postby ilya » Apr 19th, '06, 18:43

Sorry for not responding to your email. Since Adagio Teas is currently on the receiving end of a "cease & desist" letter, I'm not sure we're the best people to ask :oops:
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Postby yresim » Apr 20th, '06, 13:02

ilya wrote:Since Adagio Teas is currently on the receiving end of a "cease & desist" letter, I'm not sure we're the best people to ask :oops:

Just make sure you check into it thoroughly before you reply/comply.

World Wrestling Federation recently tried to tell the World Wildlife Fund that they couldn't use the abbreviation "WWF." Of course, they were off their rockers, since the wildlife fund is an international company that was founded in the early sixties. The wildlife folks (who had previously not cared one iota about the wrestlers) countered, and won. Thus the wrestling giant's recent name change.

The reason I bring this up is because it is not uncommon for companies to try to get away with stuff by sending out these 'cease and desist' letters, even when there is no merit to them. Mind you, it is definitely something that is worth your while to investigate, but you should definitely investigate it.

But I'm sure you already knew that.

I'm just that way.

~Yresim~
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Postby Madam Potts » Apr 20th, '06, 14:13

ilya wrote:Sorry for not responding to your email. Since Adagio Teas is currently on the receiving end of a "cease & desist" letter, I'm not sure we're the best people to ask :oops:


I figured because of the current situation that you would be the perfect people to ask. Figuring your experience could illuminate the true details of how all this works.

Either way...sorry to hear about the "c&d" letter.
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Postby Kestrel » Apr 24th, '06, 20:17

rabbit wrote:does anyone know exactly HOW to register a business name? because I'm gonna be needing to do that before somebody takes the good one I have :wink:


Go to the online website for the Secretary of State for your state, and you should be able to look up businesses. There should be a search feature or something.

Once you find out that the name is not being used in your state (most businesses are only state-registered unless they go "national", meaning a physical presence in at least two states, usually) you can register for the business name. Most states allow you to file the paperwork electronically. In fact, Colorado charges you an extra $100 if you want to file papers in person instead of electronically.

Either way, what you'd want to file is either a reservation of business name if you don't plan on working under that name soon, or you'd want to file an LLC, which stands for Limited Liability Company (it used to be Corporation, but they changed that relatively recently). Anyway, with an LLC, you need either LLC or Ltd. or a similar qualifier after the name.

An LLC protects you as the business owner. It means that if someone sues, they can only sue the business, not you personally (there are snarky, lawer-y ways of getting around the law on that one, but we won't talk about that because those lawyers make me ill). That means that they can only take business assets and/or money not exceeding the total value of the business, but they can't touch things that are solely yours and not the business's, like your house, your car, anything that's in your name.

An LLC is a good thing to have.

Edited because I forgot this:
Here's the link to the Colorado SoS website: http://www.sos.state.co.us/pubs/business/main.htm
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Postby rabbit » Apr 24th, '06, 22:05

would I be filing a form for a "Domestic" Limited Liability Company (LLC)? And by domestic does that mean I can only sell within the US?

also, i've looked at a bunch of tea websites and none of them say (R) or LLC after the name, do you have to show these abreviations?

ALSO... is it true that you get taxed more on an LLC? if so are there ways to get around this like just registering a (R) name and having a "terms of service" kinda thing that will prevent people from sueing me?
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Postby Molly » Apr 24th, '06, 23:20

Those all seem to be good questions rabbit, but if you are seriously considering filing for and creating an LLC, it might be better to direct those questions to someone with the legal and/or tax background who'd better be able to answer your questions within the requirements of your state and local government. Just a thought. :-)
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Postby Kestrel » Apr 25th, '06, 02:07

For an LLC, if you are the sole business owner, you can simply take all the business profits and you file as self employed. Taxes are then about 15% of whatever you made. It's pretty unavoidable. You don't get taxed more for an LLC, you just get taxed more because you're working for yourself. Normally employers pay part of your taxes - it varies from state to state, but because you'd be self employed, you'd be paying it all yourself. If you also have a regular job in addition to having your own business, your employer will pay part of your taxes based on how much you make there, and you're responsible for making up the difference between what you would owe based on what you make there and what you owe based on what you actually make.

For displaying the name, I'm not sure, but I know you need it in there when you REGISTER for the LLC in Colorado. You'd have to check with your particular state, but usually there's some wording in there about how you need some kind of LLC designation in the name.

The whole "domestic" thing I'm not sure about.

You'd be better served either asking someone in the legal profession or someone in the SoS office for your state, or someone you know who has a similar setup. A decent amount of my information comes from a friend who's owned his own business for many years. Most of the specifics come from the fact that my fiance is self employed and just started an LLC of his own in February.

Everything differs from state to state, so be sure to check out your Secretary of State's website. You should be able to find information there.

Also, you should look up information on sales taxes for your state. Most states, if you sell to someone else in your state, require you to charge state sales tax and submit it to the state. Just something else to think about.

Best of luck! (Paperwork sucks :( )
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Postby psteas » Apr 30th, '06, 02:11

Having gone through trademark issues, I can help you with this.

Regardless if you have a DBA (Doing Business As, or fictitious name) registered locally, it does not necessarily mean that you own it. Although with costly court hearings, you can plead your case if you choose to do so.

The best way for any new business that you plan on starting is checking out patent office site, www.uspto.gov and see if your name is trademarked. Now, one thing to note is that if your name sounds similar to a name that has already been trademarked you can get a cease and desist letter from the company to stop using the name. But if your trademark is pending, you amy be able to fight them on it, at least for a little bit to see the outcome. If your trademark goes through, then you don't have anything to worry about. I have heard other small business owners tell me they trademarked their names themselves, however, with my company I wanted to make sure that all of the proper marks were registered as well as ensure that the proper research is done. This is a bit more expensive than doing it yourself, but it can mean the difference between getting the trademark and not getting it.

People have also mentioned the notion of first use. This can apply but again, it can be costly if another company says you are infringing on their trademark. Costly both in the downtime you have to take because you can't market your company and the time it takes to either fight them or change your company name which means changing your packaging, marketing materials and everything else.

So make sure that you research this first and if you have a great name, begin the trademark process. It can cost a few thousand dollars depending on how many places you want the mark to apply, such as food and beverage, clothing, and other areas of business.

Hope this helps. Good luck with your company.
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