Is it ever ok to agree to let a group trademark your business name and license it back to you?

UPDATED: Sep 7, 2011

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.

We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

UPDATED: Sep 7, 2011Fact Checked

Get Legal Help Today

Compare Quotes From Top Companies and Save

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Is it ever ok to agree to let a group trademark your business name and license it back to you?

The group wants to protect our concept and is a non-profit that just wants to guard against misuses. They would pay for trademarking and license back solely to us. They would also do the legal fighting against any copy cats. Still should we want to eventually sell or franchise could that be a problem?

Asked on September 7, 2011 under Business Law, Idaho


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

If they trademark it, they own it. That means you can't sell the trademark, or the good will associated with it, since it's not yours to sell. It means you can't license it to another if you wanted to. It means that when the license agreement terminates, expires, or is breached, unless it's renewed under some terms--which could be very unfavorable to you--you won't be able to use you own business name.

In short, this is a VERY risky proposition. It's also unnecessary: registering a trademark is comparatively inexpensive, and if it's not worth between, say $1,000 and $2,500 (fees; drawings; lawyer costs) to do this and make sure you have all the rights to your own name, then you probably don't have anything worth protecting, anyway.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption