Trademark Issues and Startup
I have developed a concept for a clothing line directed towards women,children,and pets. This will not be brick and mortar. I would like to develope an online store but the main focus will be wholesale to upscale boutiques.
I currently live in Louisiana but should be moving to Florida within 6 months to a year. I would like start the business now in order to secure the business name before someone else uses it. After research I am leaning toward an LLC to start and if the business expands then possibly Incorporating. Do you have to pay a minimum tax amount even if there are no sales under the LLC structure in LA? FL? I am starting off very small... no mass productions. In fact I would like this line to be exclusive. Should I begin with a DBA as a Sole proprietor and then if the business expands changing the structure to an LLC or Corporation? I always come out of the gate swinging and then the concept flounders and I have invested in things that were not needed. I owned a retail boutique years back and just registerd my business as a DBA Sole Proprietorship with the state and acquired an EIN. This new business is different in that I want to delve into the e-commerce world. When it comes to an online store I'm unclear about how to legally file taxes on sales to out of state customers. Do you have to register differently or is this all about good record keeping?
Since it has been a while I'm a little fuzzy on where to start.... Do I register with the state first and then acquire an EIN? Does it matter the order with which I register and file applications? I think for the first business I just went to my local City Hall and filled out the forms that came in a package and it included a mail-in application for an EIN.
I am in the design phase and will be filing within the week - to have my Logo trademarked. Once the logo is pending/trademarked along with the words, won't I have the ability to easily register my business with the state of FL when I move? And in the event someone else has registered a business in FL with (no files are registered or pending currently in either state) my pending/trademark name wouldn't I be able to register in FL and ask them to cease and desist using my trademark?
One last thing, I have an additional logo for the baby division of my clothing line that I don't want anyone copying. Do I apply for a trademark for that logo/design, too? Does this make it appear as a second business that would need its own business structure and EIN? If this is not the case and I can simply state that "blah blah" is just another product line under the original business name - do I have to worry about other businesses registered in their states with this name? I have done an initial search and there are a few that sound the same but are not spelled the same and they are in the service catagory not the textile catagory. What I want to trademark is just the word, the style of the font/color, and the way the word is spelled. I am not going to be opening a business under this name... but as stated I don't want anyone copying the spelling or design.
Wow that was a lot...I really appreciate any advise you can offer and the time you take to offer it... Also I am fully aware of your legal constraints and realize that you are just offering advise.