How do I make sure that I own my business name, slogan, logo and website legally so no one else can claim it???
There are different types of protection based on different types of use. You can copyright designs that you use for a logo, website, stationary, etc. by filing for protection with the U.S. Copyright Office. LegalZoom can help you do that right the first time (people can do this themselves but I recommend getting help if it’s your first time as corrections can be costly).
With respect to your business name, you’re going to want to register for a trade or service mark for that with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. With a trademark, help is vital. You won’t be able to do this easily on your own and you could spend a year trying to get it right.
However, you can only get federal trademark protection for something you are using in interstate commerce. You can file an “intent to use” application but it will only last 6 months.
If it’s a local thing (like a restaurant), you will receive a certain amount of protection from unfair or anti-competitive business practices on the state level, without registering.
Attorney Joe Escalante answers your legal questions for free on our Facebook page every Tuesday and Friday at 10 a.m. PT.