Formation of Businesses and Registration of Service & Trademarks in the State of Georgia
Registering service marks and trademarks in Georgia can provide your business with numerous benefits, such as protection from copyright infringement. Making mistakes can lead to delays and a lack of protection for your hard-won intellectual property and goodwill. This is why it is a good idea to hire a business law firm to help you set up your business in Georgia. They can walk you through registering your business and its trademarks.
Registering Your Business
If you want to form an LLC or a corporation, you need to start that process with the Georgia Secretary of State Corporations Division.
You must file articles of organization with the Secretary of State’s Office. If you are forming a corporation, you must file articles of incorporation. These documents are fairly similar. You must include basic information such as the names of the business’s owners and the business’s legal address.
You will also need to appoint a registered agent and include their name and contact info with the documents you send to the state. Your registered agent is responsible for receiving legal documents, such as a summons from a court.
You can register a general partnership by filing with the Superior Court clerk in any county in which your partnership has an office. However, a general partnership is not typically a good alternative with today’s laws.
Registering for Tax Purposes
Not only will you need to register your business’s formation, you will also need to register for tax purposes. If your business will be charging sales tax, you must register with the Georgia Department of Revenue.
Additionally, you’ll need to register with the IRS if your business will have employees or will be taxed as a separate entity. When you register, you will receive an Employer Identification Number (EIN) that you can use when filing taxes.This number is also normally necessary to obtain a bank account.
Getting the Necessary Permits & Licenses
Depending on the type of business you’re planning on running, you may need additional permits or licenses. These permits usually cover health and safety, construction, and environmental issues. You or your employees may also need to be licensed individually if you work in a regulated industry.
Georgia Trademark and Servicemark Registration
Registering a Trademark or Servicemark in Georgia
You can register a trademark in Georgia through the Georgia Secretary of State. Registration of marks in Georgia only has the advantage of being relatively easy and cheap. The application can be filled out and submitted online. Your trademark must be unique and it cannot already be in use. The logo and mark must already be used in commerce before it can be registered. This is not a high bar, but it is necessary. The state will not enforce your intellectual property rights. However, registering your trademark will provide proof that you were using it first if another party copies it.
Registering a Trademark Federally
Beyond a Georgia registration, it is often wise to register a mark on the federal level through the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. This provides greater statutory protection throughout the United States but is significantly more involved and expensive. Many companies also register their marks first in Georgia because the Georgia application will likely be processed much faster. This means you will have documented your ownership of your trademark earlier than if you waited for approval from the federal government.
It is also important to note that the USPTO will not take action to protect your intellectual property rights. You will have to do this yourself. However, you can use your trademark registration as evidence that the mark does legally belong to you and increases the statutory damages for a violation of your mark.
An Experienced Law Firm Can Help You Register Your Services & Trademarks
If you are planning to start a business and you need to register both the company and its trademarks, it’s a good idea to hire a business law firm. This is because both processes are long and complex, and mistakes can cause delays and unnecessary expenses. Even if you could complete these processes properly on your own, using a law firm will help you do so more quickly.
The Law Firm of DeLong, Caldwell, Bridgers, Fitzpatrick, & Benjamin has extensive experience handling business registrations, formation, and intellectual property protections. They can help you complete this process and provide any additional legal guidance you may need. Also, they can provide you with legal services if someone violates your intellectual property rights in the future. If you need assistance with registering a business and its trademarks, contact DeLong, Caldwell, Bridgers, Fitzpatrick, & Benjamin today.