Many companies spend a great deal of time and energy evaluating the health of their balance sheets. However, in many cases there are valuable intangible assets that are often ignored. This article will touch on some of those assets and discuss how they can best be protected by your company.
Protecting your corporate name extends not only to the appropriate registration in your state of incorporation, but also to protecting it as a trade name on a common law basis and registering your name with appropriate trademark authorities. Once you create your entity with your state of formation, in most jurisdictions, such registration will prevent the State from authorizing an entity with a conflicting name in that jurisdiction; however, such protection is fairly limited. In fact, in New Jersey, the law explicitly provides that name registration with the Secretary of State does not preclude any action by a person adversely affected to enjoin the use of such name.
Certainly, the use of your name provides you with certain common law protections as of the date it is first utilized in commerce. Given today’s worldwide economy, however, you may need to think about whether you should register your trademark, trade name, or service mark on a state or federal basis. Normally this involves obtaining a trademark search, and consulting your intellectual property advisor with respect to the advantages and disadvantages of trademark registration.