Can you Trademark a Name if you Don’t own a Business?


Trademarking a name is a great way to protect your brand. It lets people know that you’re the one who created it and wants them to associate it with your business. However, there are some situations where trademarking isn’t appropriate—and that includes when you don’t own a business. In this article, we’ll explain what happens when someone trademarks their name but doesn’t have an existing business or product yet.

Anyone Can Trademark a Name

It’s easy to get confused about this, especially if you’re thinking of trademarking your favorite band’s name or the name of your new business venture. However, it’s important to remember that there are different types of trademarks:

  • Trademarks are used in commerce and marketing (like Apple®)
  • Generic names (like “Benjamin Franklin” or “Facebook”)

How to Trademark a Name if You Don’t Own a Business

If you want to trademark your name, but don’t own or operate a business and aren’t planning on starting one soon, there are steps you can take to protect it. The first is finding out whether the name is available for registration with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). This can be done by searching online using an internet browser such as Google Chrome or Firefox. Just type in “Unregistered Trade Mark Search” into the search bar and click “Search.” After entering information about what type of mark (product) or service mark (service) would be applied for—e.g., “trade dress,” which refers specifically to clothing styles—and clicking “Submit” at the bottom right-hand side corner.

Why Would You Trademark a Name if You Don’t Own a Business?

Trademark law protects the use of a name. This can be important in preventing others from using your company’s name, or even worse, confusingly similar names. For example, if you wanted to trademark the word “Penguin,” someone else could start using it and then ask you for permission. You wouldn’t want them to do that!


You can trademark a name even if you don’t own a business. It’s confusing and you’ll need an attorney, but it’s not impossible.

If your company name is not in use by anyone else, then it may be possible to trademark the name of your product or service as long as the following conditions are met:

  • You’ve used or sold products/services under this particular brand for at least 3 years (or longer)
  • The trademark will identify goods or services that are distinctive and different from all others on market;
  • There are no federal laws prohibiting registration; and
  • You’re able to prove how consumers find out about your products or services by using ads on television stations or radio stations near where they live


In the end, there are many reasons a person might want to trademark their name. It can be used as an identifier or mark of origin, give you legal protection against others using similar names (or even just similar spelling), and it’s one way to make sure that people know who they’re dealing with when they’re doing business with you. But if your name is already being used by someone else and they’re not going away anytime soon—or if it belongs to someone else entirely—then filing an application can be costly, time-consuming, and confusing.

Start your Trademark

Register Your Trademark & Get The Delivery of your USPTO Serial No. In 24 Hours

Related Posts

How Front-End Developers Can Benefit From Trademark Registration In 2023
How Front-End Developers Can Benefit From Trademark Registration In 2023
How to start an Agriculture Business in USA
How to start an Agriculture Business in USA
How to Start a Business in Utah
How to Start a Business in Utah
How to Start a Business in Texas
How to Start a Business in Texas

USPTO Trademark Filing in Just $49

Register Your Trademark with USPTO Today & Get Serial No. in 24 Hours