I’ve been trading as The Crafty Bride since October 2009. I’m registered with HMRC for tax as a self-employed sole trader. I’m on FB, Twitter, here and Etsy and I have a Flickr account (although I no longer use Flickr really). In the past I have had people pinch my logo, which I got stopped and then I had a new one designed which incorporated my business name to prevent further occurrences of that happening. I had someone attempt to make copies of one of my unique designs, which I stopped. Now there is another business of the same name operating on FB since February 2014 and I have been getting enquiries for their goods and also flack from their disgruntled customers. Luckily so far all of them have been apologetic and understood that I am not them but its still not nice having to deal with someone else’s irate customers. I have contacted this other company and they reckon that they googled the name and nothing came up and so they used it. Yeah, right.
I had already made the decision earlier in the year to wind down and close The Crafty Bride by the end of the financial year (hopefully), even if I have to sell the stock off on Ebay, I want it gone and to just carry on with my other business making different things to The Crafty Bride.
What I want to know is, before that shop name becomes too well known and all over Google is: Can I protect my business name so that no one else can use it and how can I do that?
I’ve been looking at registering as a Trade Mark but not sure if that just protects my logo or my business name as well given that my logo includes my business name. It’s £170 for 10 years and there is no guarantee that your application will be accepted and if its not you don’t get your money back but if it protects my business name as well then I think it might be worth trying. Someone suggested that you can protect your business name by registering as a Limited Company but I don’t know what that entails and from what my husband read out to me I need to have Directors and shares and urggghhhhh sounds complicated and involved.
Does anyone have any experience of this? I’m not needing to protect designs of items at this point, just stop people pinching my unique business name bringing my business into disrepute.