As you are getting ready to open your distillery (or any business really) you need to look and make sure that “your” name isn’t already being used. This can involve calling a trade mark lawyer, expensive yes, and it can save you lots and lots of headaches and money.

The first step is to think of a name for your new business (or product). This is usually one of the first things people do anyways.

Become familiar with the basics of trademark law ( ). A little knowledge can go a long way

Do an internet search using a few different search engines as these may turn up different results.

Go to the USPTO website ( and go to the search trademark database.

Warning: Do not ask your lawyer friend or your business lawyer for an official  opinion on trademark law, if it isn’t their specialty, as their opinion is as much informed as anybody else's (this one is from experience).

Once you get the “all’s clear” for your name, apply for the trademark and you are on your way.

Warning 2: You can use a name without trademarking it, however, this can leave you open to someone trademarking “your” name later and you having to “lawyer up” to fight it out (this can be problematic if that someone has a lot of money behind them) or if you are using someone else’s trademark and you have to change your name a year or more into your venture (again this one from experience).

One thing to be aware of is that there are different categories for business types (again see ) . So it is possible to have the same name as someone but for completely different products (e.g. “Super-Good” brand Spirits VS “Super-Good” brand asphalt products) You can apply for a trademark in all categories, thus owning the name outright (think Apple or Microsoft) but you will probably need lots of $$$.


AuthorCaitlin Prueitt & Chris Neumann