Thinking about a new business or brand name? Some groundwork is important to make sure you are in legal safe harbor. Here are some basic tips:
Check if your business name is available by looking at your Secretary of State’s business entity and registered trademark databases. Look at the trademark database on the United State’s Patent and Trademark Office’s website (the Trademark Electronic Search System) to see if another business has registered your proposed business or brand name. Finally, do a search engine search for the name and variations of the name to see what comes up. If you see something identical or similar, you might want to reconsider the name.
Once you have decided on a name, an attorney can help you determine whether you are in legal safe harbor, whether an infringement claim is likely, or whether there is another legal concern. An attorney can also help you decide whether it advisable to trademark the name to stop others from using the name or a similar name in the future.
Finally, when you are ready to establish your company, make sure you follow the naming requirements of your state laws. If your business structure is a corporation or limited liability company, your state laws may require you to identify your business as a corporation or LLC by adding Inc., or LLC, to the end of your business’s name.
Follow your state registration requirements, and you are good to go!