If you’re just starting out with a great business idea and a pocket full of dreams, you’re probably overwhelmed by all the steps you need to take to turn your idea into a reality. The idea of protecting your business before you even created probably hasn’t even crossed your mind. But don’t be fooled: Protecting your business with a trademark is even more important in the early stages than finding investors and coming up with a business plan. Your trademark will help with business growth, legal protection, and setting up your corporate identity. Before you plan your world takeover, you need to set up your trademark with a DC Trademark Attorney and show your competitors you mean business. So when should you start? Here are some trademark tips to help you figure it out.

File Immediately

In the business world, they say time is money. This is especially true when it comes to your trademark. If you don’t file your trademark application, as well as your registration forms, immediately, you could end up losing money not only on lawsuits to protect your mark, but on money spent trying to get the right domain name after cybersquatters have already stolen it. If you’re building a business from scratch, you simply don’t have the time (or the money) to waste on things like this. The earlier you file your trademark application, the better protected you’ll be, especially if you have a great lawyer on retainer.

Don’t Forget To Register

You might assume that filing your application is the same thing as registering your trademark. However, they are in fact two very different things. While filing an application with the USPTO, or United States Patent and Trademark Office, is mandatory for getting approved, registration is not. However, even though it’s not technically mandatory, it’s a step you’ll want to take regardless. Registering your name quickly will help you avoid copycats, messy court battles, and any type of situation where someone is trying to steal, or worse, claiming you stole, their idea. Having your trademark registered on the USPTO database allows you to point to the evidence and win any dispute out of court.

Check With ICANN

Along with USPTO, you’ll also want to make friends with ICANN, or the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. This service allows you to fight back against bots and cybersquatters who are trying to ransom your domain name without any intention of using it themselves. ICANN will provide you with a moderator who can make sure your trademark domain goes to the right person: You. Don’t end up choosing a hard-to-search website just because a bot stole your .com property first.

Leave Your Mark

The sooner you file your trademark application, the sooner you can be in business: Literally. Whether you’re a media company, a burger chain, or a consulting agency, you need your trademark in order to show the world what you’re all about. That’s why there’s no time to delay. Consult with your lawyer and file your trademark paperwork as soon as you can to keep yourself growing and standing strong amongst competitors.