Should I trademark my farm name for a small backyard farm?

Discussion in 'Hobbies' started by Jeniferl29, Jan 16, 2016.

  1. Jeniferl29

    Jeniferl29 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We live in Georgia and right now just have a small backyard farm. In the next couple of years, I am hoping to grow into selling hatching eggs online and homemade items, canned goods, honey, and eggs for eating at our local farmers market. I love my farm name and would like to label my items with it. Where do I begin? Do I need a trademark? LLC? DBA? Help!
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2016
  2. GitaBooks

    GitaBooks Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    If you create for yourself a website and choose a farm name there (that is not in use) then it is like trademarking in many ways. That is what I plan to do. Once you get your name out there others are likely not to use it. If you are worried about people using your name you could trademark it, however.

    It sounds like an exciting project. Best of luck on it! [​IMG]
     
  3. Jeniferl29

    Jeniferl29 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you! I am looking forward to it.
     
  4. Birdrain92

    Birdrain92 Overrun With Chickens

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    X2 with Gitabooks. I've yet to make a website for my business but I did make a facebook page. I'm hoping to make a web page once I get large enough that it would make sense but until then I'm sticking with a facebook page.
     
  5. Jeniferl29

    Jeniferl29 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks y'all! I have a facebook farm page but I haven't made a webpage either.
     
  6. Many of the people at our farmers market in TX began creating labels and business cards for their booth (or booths if selling at multiple markets), so they didn't actually create a legal "business," but it worked just fine for local sales.

    Since you're wanting to expand to internet sales, you could create a blog (i.e. WordPress, Google's Blogger) and add a PayPal button to accept payments...I don't think you have to be an official business to do that for a small backyard farm.

    Here's an example of a church group who decided to start recycling glass in their community. I used to live in Nacogdoches, TX (where the group is) and helped these people turn glass bottles into art. They are using Blogger to sell their art online.

    http://crkuttbottle.blogspot.com/

    Sorry that I don't know anything about official businesses, LLCs, etc. Hoping another BYC member does. I'm curious too.
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2016
  7. EveryCitizen

    EveryCitizen New Egg

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    It has to be said, I am not a lawyer and this is not "legal advice".

    Trademark registration does not actually give you 'trademark protection', trademark protection is established the moment you use the mark in commerce. So, if your name is original and qualifies as protected (see below), you would simply need to use it on your products and website and you'll have your very own protected 'Trademark', no registration required. It may be important to keep records of you using your mark in commerce as of a particular date, (think, photo of you and your labeled product at a farmers market) so you have standing if someone comes along in the future and tries to bully you off of it.

    A word on trademark-ability... Words that are descriptive of the goods or services sold as well as surnames (unless the word also has a common use) cannot typically be registered or protected by trademark. For example, Sanchez Farms is likely not 'protected' as Sanchez is predominantly used as a surname and 'Farms' is descriptive of the product/service. There are many caveats to this and it boils down to your particular scenario, but you can likely use your surname for a farm without issue, unless it's ultra prevalent and confusing. For example, if your surname is 'Pepperidge' and you sell wholesome baked goods, I would avoid trying to use 'Pepperidge Farm' in any sort of commerce. The down side to this is that someone could potentially also use the same unprotected name and benefit from your good standing in the marketplace.

    Business formation and LLC's in particular. Please take time to consider the benefits and protection of forming a business entity for your goods/services. This is an extremely personal choice, but in most states starting a business (legally creating a business entity, an LLC in particular) is quick, painless and far less costly than you might expect. For example, in my state, you can file online, through the Secretary of State's website, for a fee of $160 and become a legal entity instantly. There are several reasons to do this, but the most important in my opinion, is the protection you gain as it separates your personal assets (and liability) from your business's assets. LLC's in particular are designed to do this quickly and efficiently, and mean that (unless there is gross or criminal negligence) you are only liable, if sued, up to the assets your business owns, not you personally. In a farm setting, consider this... you form an LLC and 'lease' your private farm land to the LLC. If someone (Heaven forbid) gets sick or dies from the use or consumption of your product, they typically can only come after assets the LLC actually owns, which in this case, would not be your house/land. It's not a license to be sloppy, but if this same scenario happened without LLC separation and protection, you would have unlimited personal liability and could potentially lose everything.

    Best wishes with naming your farm and selling your goods.
     
    1 person likes this.
  8. BurbsteadGirl

    BurbsteadGirl Out Of The Brooder

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    That is really good info! Does anyone have any experience with the potential tax implications of having an LLC on a small/hobby farm? (Curious because this was my plan for the near future!)
     

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