Originally Posted by GreenIndustryAssociates
You indeed can trademark the name itself. This is what keeps people from opening a burger joint called McDonald's even if your logo is completely different. You can trademark the name with specific fonts, artisitc styling, and colors. This is what keeps a small soda bottler from calling their company Cook-Cola and using a similar artistic style as Coke using. Similarly in our industry, a company named Joe's Landscaping, might incorporate a leaf into one of the letters of "Landscaping", a registered trademark would protect him from anyone else using the same artistic styling of the leaf in "Landscaping".
As far as the name goes, you can trademark the business name, which would protect you from others using your business name for similar services. For example I have registered a trademark for my business name. It is protected in all of the landscape related industries plus a couple others that I would like to get into possibly in the future. But I may not be protected from people using the name in another non-related industry. Similar to what I said above about McDonald's, you can't open a burger joint called McDonald's, but you can open a landscape company called McDonald's.
To protect your name it must be registered with the US Patent and Trademark Office. Once you file the application you can use the (TM) with the name. Once the trademark application is accepted by the feds you can use the (R) symbol.
If someone is illegally using your registered business name to promote their business you might be able to seek financial retribution for sales they made using your name as well as for any damage their use of the name might have caused you. For example somebody illegally uses the name McDonalds for a burger joint and the interested is in the news because of a mass case of food poisoning. People will see this and assume the national burger chain and thus their reputation would be damaged. As far as a small landscaper you would have trouble enforcing this out of your service area. For example if you trademark "Joe's Landscape" and you conduct your service in Florida, you will have trouble showing that "Joe's Landscape" in Marquisette is effecting your business.
You really cleared up validated a few things for me. Thanks.
But one more thing. Unless a landscaping company is planing on franchising itself out, or working nationally, is the trademark necessary for our industry?