Choosing the perfect company name is the first and one of the most crucial steps when opening a new business. Picking the right business name takes some creativity and investigation, including state laws, trademark registration research, and market research. Choosing a business name that stands out, is memorable, and is easy to spell and pronounce is essential. It’s also vital for the business name to represent the brand accurately and effectively. For more information regarding how to choose a business name, call a seasoned business and intellectual property lawyer at Goings Legal at Discovery Call to learn more.
Important Steps To Take When Choosing a Business Name
When it comes to choosing the right name for a business, there is much more for future business owners to do than thinking of a catchy or clever name. A successful business name should emulate the organization’s goals and purpose. It will also be memorable and unique. The essential steps to take for choosing the right business name can include the following:
Check the State Business Name Guidelines
New business owners can complete state searches to ensure the business name is not already in use by another organization. Many states will not allow a new company to use the same name or one too similar to others, which may cause deception or confusion to consumers. Additionally, most states require that the entity structure be included in the name, such as LLC or Inc.
Choose a Memorable Name
Choosing a new business name that is long or difficult to pronounce can be frustrating for owners and customers alike. If names are difficult to remember, it’s difficult to build recognition. Successful names are short, to the point, and easy to pronounce and spell.
You can also create distinction by making up words (XEROX) or using unique spelling, such as the luxury car SPYDER (right).
Conduct a Thorough Trademark Search
Before trademarking a business name, new company owners must conduct a thorough trademark search with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The search will allow companies to ensure there are not already businesses offering the same products operating under the same or similar names. A trademark search can be a complex and challenging legal matter to do properly. Consider visiting with an experienced attorney to ensure that your legal intellectual property rights remain protected.
The Registration of Business Names
After deciding on the perfect name that represents a business’ brand and the goods or services offered, it is crucial to register it with the USPTO to prevent others from using the same name. There are four primary ways to register a business name, and all of them have different purposes. An experienced business and trademark attorney at Goings Legal can answer questions on how to choose a business name and then register that trademark with the USPTO properly.
Register the Entity Name With the State
Entity name registration will protect it within the business’ state. The state may also require legal registration and reject the registration if the name is too similar to another company’s name within that state. As per the South Carolina Secretary of State, all businesses should register new business names with the state except for sole proprietorships and general partnerships.
State trademark registration can protect the name in your state of operation. Federal trademark registration can protect the name countrywide. According to the United States Patent and Trademark Office, registrations listed in their database act as “public notice” to others searching for similar marks. If another organization or business entity attempts to register a similar name with related services or goods, the USPTO will reject their application. Registration also creates a presumption of ownership and enables you to sue for infringement under federal law. However, the USPTO is not an enforcement agency, and you must police your own mark.
DBA Name Registration
A DBA name is a trade name, fictitious name, or assumed name and stands for “doing business as.” The state in which the company operates usually requires the business to register and publish any name it uses that is different from the name registered with the Secretary of State. This is usually done at the county level. States may also require registration for specific business structures.
Domain Name Registration
Domain name registration is vital for the business’s online presence. It is important to ensure that your business has a cohesive online and offline presence by obtaining a domain name that correlates as closely as possible to their legally protected business name.
Using Your Name?
Some business owners may want to use their name within the business name for various reasons. You should carefully consider when doing this. When business owners use their name within the business name, it can forever tie them to the venture, even after it’s purchased by another company or individual. How will this reflect on you, and can it affect future business ventures? Think Kate Spade.
What to Avoid When Choosing a New Business Name
It is important to avoid certain choices when deciding upon a new business name, including:
- Attempt to avoid business names that are too long or confusing.
- Consider refraining from using a business name because it is trendy.
- Consider carefully if you want to use a business name that includes profanity or obscenities.
There are many exceptions and rules regarding what entrepreneurs should include when deciding on a good business name. Yet, the most critical thing to remember is that the business name should portray the message they want to send to their potential clients and customers.
Schedule a Consultation With an Experienced Intellectual Property Lawyer
New business owners have a lot of critical decisions to make, and choosing a business name for the company is always a priority. A strong business name is more than words or a phrase. A business name is the first representation of the company and brand that potential customers see. Many vital factors come into play when deciding on the right name for your business. Deciding on a unique and memorable name that stands out to clients and/or customers will have many long-lasting benefits. We are excited about your new entrepreneurial journal! We welcome the opportunity to learn about your business and help you learn how to choose a business name that is distinctive and protects your business. Schedule a Discovery Call with Goings Legal to start your journey with an expert legal partner.