Choosing a Corporate Name

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Why is a Corporate Name Important?

Corporate names are very important for a corporation because that is the name which the public will associate with that particular business. It will also be the legal name which the company will be using for forms, documents, filing lawsuits, conducting business, etc. 

Therefore it’s very important to choose a corporate name that can easily be associated with the product or business operations; however the corporate name shouldn’t confuse the public into thinking that it’s associated with an already existing name. This is called “brand recognition.” Corporate names must usually end with “Inc.” or “Corp."

Lastly, corporate names are important because they tend to preserve the “veil” that protects the owners of the corporation from legal liability to the public. This is especially true for limited liability companies. An individual person may wish to form a corporation, which actually becomes a legally separate entity from the individual. Thus, the name helps to preserve principles of liability in order to shield the owners. 

How Do I Know if a Corporate Name is Available?

When filing to incorporate a business, the corporate name shouldn’t be used if another company is already using it. Usually, it’s up to the Secretary of State to check which names are available and respond to the business applicant regarding the availability of a corporate name. However, it may also be wise to consult with a business lawyer, who can check various databases, county records, and even trademark/copyright listings for the availability of names.

Can Anyone Else Use My Corporate Name?

Just because a business has been granted status as a corporation by the state doesn’t mean that their name is solely theirs for exclusive use. In order to protect a business name, it may also be necessary to file under trademark laws in order secure the name. The name may also be highly related to a certain logo or image, and these can be protected for exclusive use as well under trademark laws.

Again, issues like filing for incorporation and investigating trademark laws are usually complicated. They generally require the assistance of a lawyer; this can also help to avoid costly errors in the application process that might result in a denial or rejection of the application. 

Should I Hire a Lawyer if I Need Help Choosing a Corporate Name?

Choosing a corporate name isn’t simply a matter of preference or taste; choosing the appropriate name definitely has significant consequences in terms of business profit as well as legal requirements. You may wish to contact an experienced business lawyer for advice on choosing a corporate name. Your attorney can help you choose a name that will help maximize your company’s visibility, and can also represent you in court if you need to file a lawsuit regarding the business name. 

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Last Modified: 09-25-2013 03:38 PM PDT

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