A trade name or DBA (“doing business as”) is a name, logo, or slogan under which your company operates. They aren’t legally required, but are common for establishing your business. In this post, we’ll talk about how to register a trade name in Arizona for your business. A trademark is different than a trade name. A trademark is a brand name. On the other hand, a trademark is a unique word, term, design, or even a sound used with products or services to distinguish a particular seller as the source of those products or services. How to trademark a name in Arizona follows the same general procedures as registering a trade name. Importantly, though, a trademark must be in use on the products you are selling or in advertising the services you are rendering before you register it.
Note: This article isn’t intended as legal advice, and rules regarding this may change depending on your situation. To address your business’s unique needs, talk with a business and civil law attorney.
The basics of Arizona trade name and trademark laws
Trade names are separate from business names. Business names are the legal name of your business entity. The Corporation Commission has more information on how to register a business name.
Instead, a sole proprietor may use a trade name to avoid tying their business to their personal name. Or, some companies use trade names for commercial reasons.
For example, if a company moves into a state where their business name is already in use, a trade name provides new branding. They also won’t infringe on another company’s name, which could cause legal issues.
Trade names registered in Arizona are good for the State of Arizona only.
Arizona provides a trademark registry and does not guarantee exclusive rights to your name or logo. Another business might use your trademark in another state. Another business could also register that name through the federal government. Arizona only checks applications against its statewide database.
You can file trade names and trademarks through the Arizona Secretary of State website. All companies must file online. We’ll talk about this process in a little more detail further on in this post.
How can I register a trade name or trademark for my business in Arizona?
Before your company can register a trade name or trademark a name in Arizona, you must check that your name isn’t already in use. From there, you file it online and await approval or rejection via email. Once approved, you’ll pay a registration fee and the trademark will be yours.
How to trademark a name in Arizona, or filing a trade name registration application, is a simple process, overall. However, some businesses may run into more complex scenarios. For example, companies must renew trademarks and trade names every set number of years. There are special forms to change a trademark or trade name and assign it to a different entity.
1. Check that your trade name is distinguishable
The Arizona Secretary of State and Corporation Commission uses a shared database for trade and business names. Companies may search this database online to make sure their trade name is unique.
The Secretary of State does not count lower versus upper case, most punctuation, or certain words, such as articles (a/an/the).
You also cannot register a domain name, or a name connoting a government institution. Construction companies, mortgage companies, and other types of business have further guidelines.
For more on what makes a name distinguishable, read the Arizona Trade Name Handbook. You may want a business attorney to check your trademark before you apply, as they’ll be able to help you through any specific rules for your industry.
2. File the online forms
Apply using the Arizona Secretary of State’s online portal. The portal has instructions on how to register a trademark in Arizona, along with the forms you’ll need.
For trademarks, provide an image and a full, accurate description. If the trade name is text only, mark this on the application.
Fill in your company information. Enter the business name exactly as it appears in its Arizona Corporations Commission registration, including the corporate ending, such as LLC or Ltd.
3. Wait several weeks or request an expedited review
Evaluating applications typically takes two to three weeks. You may ask the Secretary of State to expedite their review. They’ll charge an extra $25 to do this, due to them after they approve your application.
The registration of a trade name or trademark is not legally required in Arizona. However, registration provides useful functions for businesses, such as notice to others that the trade name or trademark is spoken for. Trademarks must be in use prior to filing the trademark registration application.
4. Pay for registration
If the Secretary of State approves the trademark, you must pay a registration fee. Trade names are $10. Trademarks are $15. Companies do not have to pay anything if the State rejects their trademark.
You may pay online via debit or credit card. You can also pay by money order or check to the Arizona Secretary of State, mailed with a copy of the application.
Once payment processes, the Secretary of State emails you a trademark certificate. You do not need to notarize it. You can buy a duplicate certificate through them for $3.
5. Keep your trademark up-to-date
You must renew your trade name registration every five years and a trademark registration every ten years. Six months before it expires, file the continuation form on the online portal. It costs the same as initial registration and lasts another five or ten years, respectively.
Make sure to put the original trademark, business information, and owner on the renewal form. If you wish to change your logo or any of the information, you need to file an amendment.
If your trademark expires, you must file a new application. In the meantime, another company may register your trademark. Renewing your trade names and trademark on time is important.
6. File a new form for any amendments or cancellations
If you want to amend or cancel a registered trademark, the State’s online portal also has an amendment form you can use. Fill this out if if:
– Your business owner’s name legally changed
– The nature of your business changed
– You want to associate a different email, address, or phone number with your trademark
If you would like to assign the trademark over to someone else, you can also use the assignment form. There is also a form to cancel the trademark.
Print cancellation, amendment, and assignment forms from the online portal. Sign, notarize, and mail them to the Secretary of State to complete the process. Cancellations are free. Amendments cost $3 and assignments cost $10.
7. Work with an attorney for complex situations
As businesses grow larger, it is more important that you work with an attorney. Interstate commerce can complicate trade names and trademarks across states.
For example, someone else may use or register your trademark in another state. This can lead to complex legal and branding issues. If another business registers your trademark with the federal government, that may complicate your ability to expand your business using that trademark. Intervening in the federal trademark application of the competing business may be crucial to protecting your ability use and expand the use of your trademark.
An intellectual property attorney is your best resource. They can advise you on best practices to protect your business as it grows. They’re also a trusted resource for navigating the ins and outs of your business’ other intellectual property. For more help on how to trademark a name in Arizona as well as register trademarks and trade named in the federal government, contact ARTEMiS Law Firm now to talk to our Arizona intellectual property attorneys.Contact Us