What is the difference between an Oklahoma trademark and Oklahoma trade name?

The terms trademark and trade name are often confused. It is particularly problematic when someone is trying to register one of these with the Oklahoma Secretary of State. While they are somewhat similar, they have a distinct place under Oklahoma law and in the process of registration with the Oklahoma Secretary of State.

An Oklahoma trademark means any word, name, symbol, emblem, or device or any combination of these adopted and used by a person or business to identify goods made or sold or services rendered by them and to distinguish them from goods made or sold or services rendered by others.

An Oklahoma trade name is is simply the name of a business or person who is doing business under any name different than what they have registered with the Secretary of State. For instance, a person who has Smith Corporation under Oklahoma law, but actually does business as Acme Products, would register the name Acme Products as a trade name by filing a trade name report with the Oklahoma Secretary of State. A business or individual can own one or more trade. Registering a trade name does not confer any trademark rights on the registrant.

To make sure your business is protected on both fronts, feel free contact me anytime (sjr@shawnjroberts.com).

Posted by Shawn Roberts

On this blog, I write about and try to answer practical Oklahoma legal questions. My focus and most experience is in estate planning and business issues including Oklahoma non-compete law. I make a living as an attorney in the law firm I founded, Shawn J. Roberts, P.C. in Oklahoma City. I live in Edmond with my wife Amy and my two children, Sam (19) and David (11). We live precisely in the path of where the "wind comes sweeping down the plains."


Ann Frances Ellis

I want to register the name of my new sole proprietorship in Oklahoma. Neither of these forms fit what I want to do. Why is this so hard? The Trademark Report requires a jpg file with the name on it. The Trade Name Report requires a name other than the legal name. I don’t have any other name. I want to make my new business name a legal name in Oklahoma. Can anyone help me?

Shawn Roberts

Ms. Ellis,

Thank you for reading my blog and taking the time to post your question.

I will try to help you. What is the name of your business? I think you will need to file a Trade Name Report.

I think is the document you will need. https://www.sos.ok.gov/forms/FM0021.PDF.

I believe you are an “unincorporated business” in the choices on Section 5 of the document. The legal name of the business entity is your name and the trade name of the business is whatever name you are using for your business.

Let me know if you have questions.