Trademarks Incorporation: Everything You Need to Know
When it comes to trademarks, incorporation does not constitute registration. Articles of incorporation are required to state the name of the corporation, as required by RCW 23.01.030. 4 min read
When it comes to trademarks, incorporation does not constitute registration. Articles of incorporation are required to state the name of the corporation, as required by RCW 23.01.030. However, according to the Trademark Registration Act, filing articles of incorporation is not enough to register a business's name or logo as a trademark.
RCW 23.01.030 states the following:
The corporate name cannot be the same or similar to the name of any other domestic or foreign corporation authorized to do business in the state unless it's about to change its name, cease business, is being wound up, or is about to withdraw from doing business in the state. Written consent is needed to adopt the business's name and is filed with the articles of incorporation.
The corporate name also can't be the same or similar to the trade name of a person or unincorporated association doing business under that trade name in the state or elsewhere and has a signed intention to incorporate in the state filed within the preceding year. This intent has to be filed with the secretary of the state unless written consent has been given, and it must be filed with the articles of incorporation.
The corporate name also can't be the same or similar to the name of any foreign corporation doing business elsewhere in the state that has signed an intention to incorporate within the preceding year. This also applies to foreign corporations that intend to do business within the state under that name and have filed a notice of intention with the secretary of state, unless written consent to the adoption of such name has been given and filed with the articles of incorporation.
Nothing in this section limits the law as to unfair competition or practices or detracts from common law, equity, or the statutes in the state or of the United States, with respect to the right to acquire and protect trade names.
RCW 19.77.030 relates to the registration of trademarks as follows:
Any person who adopted or is currently using a trademark in the state may file an application for the registration of a trademark with the secretary of state.
RCW 19.77.020 states:
The trademarks for the goods or services of any applicant must be distinguishable from the goods or services of others.
Registration will be denied if the trademark resembles another registered trademark, comprises a trademark or trade name previously used in the state by someone else that hasn't been abandoned, or may cause confusion, deception, or a mistake between the goods and services.
RCW 19.77.900 states:
Nothing should affect the rights or enforcement of the rights in trademarks acquired in good faith from common law usage.
Chapter 19.77 RCW allows a distinct procedure for registration with the secretary of state. Filing articles of incorporation doesn't comply with Chapter 19.77 RCW and does not constitute registration of a corporate name as a trademark.
Patents, Trademarks, and Copyrights
Patents, trademarks, and copyrights are known as intellectual property and refer to rights associated with knowledge and concepts. Intellectual property is a concern for businesses that are developing or have developed a process, product, or concept that will be taken to market, as well as protecting the business name and identity.
That said, they are three distinct types of intellectual property, all of which have different rights and protections.
Patents are rights granted to an inventor by the government. They give the patent holder or inventor the right to exclude others from making or using the invention for a specified time period, which is typically 20 years.
The United States Patent and Trademark Office website provides information on existing patents for products, processes, and concepts. Patent applications have to be filed online at the United States Patent and Trademark Office website. Filing costs vary by the type of filing.
Trademarks are rights to a name, word, symbol, logo, phrase, design, sound, color, or a combination of these used to distinguish a company's products or services. They must be unique — generic terms can't be trademarked.
Copyrights are protection given to authors of literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, or other intellectual works. Copyright applies to published and unpublished works, as well as online. A copyright doesn't necessarily have to be registered to provide protection.
Companies should consider a trademark, patent, or incorporation if they're funded by investors, have a high liability, or have a net income over $100,000. To decide if incorporating is right for you, seek the counsel of a professional attorney.
If you need help with trademarks incorporation, you can post your legal need on UpCounsel's marketplace. UpCounsel accepts only the top 5 percent of lawyers to its site. Lawyers on UpCounsel come from law schools such as Harvard Law and Yale Law and average 14 years of legal experience, including work with or on behalf of companies like Google, Menlo Ventures, and Airbnb.