Blogging Tips Social Media

Should You Trademark Your Blog Name?

Have you been thinking about whether you should trademark your blog name? Would you like to know the process and costs involved? This post takes a look at what you need to consider when you decide to trademark your blog name.

In September 2020 I received an email from a small business based around forty miles from where I live. It was from a woman letting me know that she had started a business with the same name as one of my blogs.

The only difference was that hers didn’t have a ‘the’ in front of the name.

(I’m not going reveal the name in this blog post but think ‘the mom blog’ vs ‘mom blog’ in terms of similarity)

The email was polite and was actually asking me to collaborate. They’d send me some of their products for me to promote on my website of the same name.

She also mentioned that they hadn’t realised my website existed until after they had set up their business, trademarked the name and set in motion everything that you need to do when launching a new venture.

A sentiment that I felt was a load of codswallop.

I find it very hard to believe that in this day and age anyone would set up a business without Googling the name they planned on using.

Or checking that anyone else had used the same or even a similar name on social media (namechekr is great for this).

At the time, my blog was the first thing that came up when that name or any similar iteration was searched.

So, I assume they saw my blog and decided to go ahead and use the name anyway. Either because they didn’t care that it would impact another person’s income and livelihood or perhaps didn’t realise.

And of course, they only contacted me after the eight weeks you can dispute a trademark had passed. Again, very telling. However, as I hadn’t trademarked the name myself, they were legally entitled to do this.

Even after everything had gone through I could still have challenged it, having already owned the website with the same name for several years.

However, I just didn’t have the energy. My Father In Law had recently passed away and I just didn’t need any more stress.

So, I quietly changed my blog name to something completely different as I didn’t want any confusion and I’d already had a flurry of Facebook likes from people in their town who I assume thought we were the same business.

This whole incident did, however, lead me to trademark the name of my main finance blog.

While the income from the blog I mentioned above was only one of many smaller income streams, my personal finance blog is my main income stream and if the same thing were to happen again, I’d lose a big chunk of my earnings.

Have you been thinking about whether you should trademark your blog name? Would you like to know the process and costs involved? This post takes a look at what you need to consider when you decide to trademark your blog name.

Should You Trademark Your Blog Name? Pros and Cons

Taking the decision to trademark the blog name you’re using is a big one. It’s a lengthy and costly process and can be quite complex in places too. However, it could be worth it for the legal protection that having a trademark affords you.

Here are some pros to trademarking your blog name:

  • Legal protection for your brand/business. Although do be aware this only applies in the country you are trademarking the name. So if you trademark in the U.K the protection would not apply in the U.S.A.
  • Stops others from using the name – while I always advise anyone starting a blog to buy both the .com and .co.uk domains there are so many website endings now it would cost a fortune to buy every single one.
  • You can ask other people to stop using the name on social media – using the example of ‘Mom Blog’ from before you’d be able to ask anyone in the U.K using that name (for example if their Instagram name was Momblog123 or SavvyMomBlog) on Instagram to stop using it and threaten legal action if they didn’t.
  • It can make your business look more legitimate.
  • It could stop others from trying to use your business name in first place if they check the trademark register before setting up their business. Because of the issues I’ve had in the past I now always check both the U.K and US trademark registers before starting a new website or business venture.

Here are a few cons of trademarking your blog name:

  • The cost. It costs £170 to register a trademark in one class and £50 for each additional class some of which you may need to ensure your business is fully protected. You can also pay extra (£30) to have your application checked over (a bit like when applying for a passport). I’d advise doing this as if anything is wrong with the application you’ll lose the fees you’ve already paid upfront which is usually around half of the overall cost.
  • You could discover the name you are currently using is already trademarked and the other party just haven’t contested it. Sometimes you may find a name is trademarked even if the domain name isn’t being used.
  • It can be wasted money if you decided to change your blog name a year or two down the line (a trademark lasts for 10 years)
  • Businesses with similar trademarks could object. When I applied for my trademark, nine other businesses in a similar field were contacted as my trademark was considered to be similar enough that they might take issue with it. Thankfully none of them did!

How To Trademark Your Blog Name

To get started with trademarking your blog name you’ll need to head over to https://www.gov.uk/how-to-register-a-trade-mark and start the online application process. You can save after each section if you want to go through it in stages.

I didn’t want to use my home address for this so I used my free P.O Box address instead. Note: you may get some unsolicited mail after registering your trademark application, usually from European countries (mine were from Spain/Italy). These can be ignored, it’s just companies trying to get you to pay them to register your trademark which you don’t need to do.

The government website does a fairly good job of explaining everything as you go and you’ll be prompted to check the name you’d like to trademark isn’t already on the register.

There are some things that you can’t register, including very generic one-word terms, swearwords and anything pornographic.

One of the biggest decisions you’ll need to make is which classes (categories) in which to register your blog. This will be different for each blogger should be relevant to which services and products you offer on your blog.

I chose to register in the following classes:

Class 36: Relating to finances

Class 41: Online publications, namely blogs / Writing services for blogs / Freelance journalism

If you sell physical products through your blogs such as T-shirts or Hoodys with your brand name or logo you may wish to register in Class 25 which includes T-shirts and Printed t-shirts. Class 43 relates to food and drink.

Once you’ve filled out the forms you should hear back within four weeks about your application.

If you’ve paid the additional £30 to have the application checked over, you’ll receive an email telling you if you need to make amendments (I’m so glad I did this as mine needed something changing!) and then you pay the rest of the fees.

After this, your trademark application is displayed online for eight weeks and during this time, other businesses or trademark owners could contest it if they feel it is too similar to theirs. The IPO may also contact trademark owners where they feel the name is similar or you’re looking to register a name in similar classes.

This happened with my application a loan company and accounts (among others!) were contacted as they had one of the same words in their trademark and they were also registered in Class 36.

However, none of them objected, I think probably because I’m offering a completely different type of service.

If someone does object, you could try to resolve things (the IPO has a mediation service for this) or you could take the other party to court and battle it out that way- however, if they win you are responsible for their court fees.

Once the eight weeks have passed, if no one had objected then you should get an email confirming that your trademark is now registered! You can now use the ® symbol with your blog name.

Should You Trademark Your Blog Name – Final Thoughts

Trademarking your blog name is a big step so if you’re fairly new to blogging it’s probably not something you need to consider just yet. If you’re starting a new blog then always check the trademark register before picking a name.

If your blog and social media is your main source of income or part of a larger business strategy then it might be worth trademarking it to protect that.

Having a trademark can also help to take down duplicate websites and social media accounts that pop up (it’s amazing how often this happens!) and you can prevent your brand from being confused with anyone else.

For me having my main blog trademarked has given me peace of mind after what happened with one of my other blogs. I’ve not actually trademarked the names of any of my smaller websites yet, but when the income hits £1 a month it’s something I’ll definitely be doing.

Finally, you can do everything to do with trademarking your blog name online yourself. You don’t need a solicitor or to pay a company to do it for you. If there are any parts you don’t understand you can contact the IPO and they should get back to you within one working day.

Do you have any questions about how to trademark your blog name? If you do I’d be more than happy to try and help answer them – you can leave a comment below or email me Fiona@bloggingbeautiful.com

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