September 22, 2019

To Trademark or Not To Trademark

Should you trademark your business or product name for a SaaS business?

The short answer: Yes, but not for the reasons you might think.

I'm going to make this post short and get right to the point. We live in a very litigious society. People can (and will) sue you for anything.

Years ago, my design agency was sued because one of our clients found their web address on a "porn" site.

I put that in quotes, because the site was nowhere near "porn". This client hired us for SEO. We crushed it. Got their website to the 1st page, 1st search result on Google, for over 2 dozen keywords.

Then 2008 happened and their business wasn't producing as much revenue. So they sued us. (And a bunch of other people too).

So, I retained a lawyer, battled them and won. Problem was, it cost me a lot of $$ to defend myself.

The point is, you can be sued for anything. Doesn't matter if you are right or wrong... you will still spend a lot of money defending yourself.

A friend of mine was sued for trademark infringement a few years ago. He had no idea the name he chose for his business was trademarked.

Outcome: He spend a bunch of money. Lost the battle. Had to change his business name.

So, now that we're rocking and rolling with Arcus, we decided to check the trademark status of Arcus.

Not good.

The work "Arcus" is trademarked over 50 times, by various companies, in a lot of different forms.

At this point, we could continue building everything around Arcus... Or, we could change the name.

Here's one potential outcome:

We keep rolling with Arcus. Three years later, one of the "Arcus" trademark owners sues us to stop using the name Arcus. We would lose in court, and be forced to stop using the name. Brand recognition, backlinks, URLs, et cetera ... all gone. See ya.

The other outcome:

Ditch the name Arcus. Choose another name. Rest easy at night, knowing we will not be sued for trademark infringement.

Plan #2 wins.

Thankfully, I have a great name that I picked over 10 years ago. I have the .com for the name. And, it's highly brandable.

Arcus is now Sagenine.

Conclusion: Trademark your business name. It will save you a bunch of heartburn in the future. Not only in protection from being sued, but also gives you some ammo if you get a competitor who's using your name.