The following is an excerpt from my book, Building a Bold Brand. To learn more about the book, visit www.buildingaboldbrand.com.
Trademark Tips for Blog Owners
- Be creative. A creative name is generally much more likely to be unique and much easier to protect. For example, one of my favorite blog titles is a cheese blog called It’s Not You, It’s Brie®. Before committing to a name, blog authors should search the internet and the trademark database at USPTO.gov to make sure it is unique in your industry. Check for domain name availability and web use, as well.
- Make it stand out. When using the name, put it in a different font, color, bold, or italics to make it stand out. That way, it helps demonstrate that the title of the blog is special and that you want to call attention to it and protect it.
- Use proper trademark symbols. Use “SM” on the right shoulder of the title if the name is not registered, since posting to a blog is a service rather than a product. If the blog name is registered, use the ® as frequently as possible. Showing others that you are protecting the blog name makes it a stronger brand and enhances its legal protections.
- File an application with the USPTO to register a trademark for the name of the blog.
- Register the corresponding .com domain name, even if you do not intend to use it. The annual cost is worthwhile insurance to prevent someone else from owning and using the .com and causing headaches and potential legal bills.
- Register the corresponding social media usernames on major social media sites. Even if the names are never used, there is a value in making sure that someone else cannot use them.
- Monitor for infringement. Set up a free Google alert or use other methods to check periodically for copycats. If you learn of an infringement, consult with an attorney. If you do not make an effort to stop infringers, your rights in the name will generally be weakened.
Most blogs are informational, but they serve several important purposes, including enhancing credibility; improving search engine ranking; and creating content, marketing, and thought leadership, and they therefore provide significant value to their authors. To protect the investment of time, energy, and money in the blog, blog owners should strongly consider the tips above, including trademark registration.