Tips for Choosing a Business Name

Authored by , LegalMatch Law Library Managing Editor and Attorney at Law

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What are Some Tips for Choosing a Business Name?

When choosing a business name, there are several guidelines that should be followed.  Of course, the name you choose should be legal valid and should comply with all the various business regulations in your area.  For example, you’d want to choose a name that isn’t being used already; you’d also want to include any indicators required by law, such as the letters “Inc.” at the end of the name if it’s a corporation. 

In addition, you will want to choose a business name that will attract business to your company.  Here are some more tips for choosing a business name that can help benefit your company:

Lastly, be sure that your business name won’t cause the public to be misled, and that it won’t cause confusion with another brand.  Stay away from business names that might lead to a trademark infringement or copyright violation.

What if Someone is Trying to Use My Business Name?

In most cases, simply registering your business name with the county might not actually prevent another company from being able to reference or use your business’ name.  In order to protect your business name from unauthorized use, you’ll likely need to get the name trademarked.

Registering a business name as a trademark is a detailed process that involves the submission of all of the words and images associated with your business’ name.  You’ll definitely need to research for existing business names that are already trademarked, because you can’t use a name that’s already trademarked. 

If there is a conflict as to who can use a certain business name, it may require evidence that your company used the business name at an earlier date.  On the other hand, if another company is trying to use your trademarked logo, it may be possible to sue them for damages if the unauthorized usage causes your company to lose profits.

Do I Need a Lawyer if I Need Help Choosing a Business Name?

Disputes over business names can be costly and time consuming for your company.  In order to avoid such legal disputes, you may wish to hire a lawyer at the outset when you first choose your company name.  Your attorney can conduct thorough research to see which names are available for your business, and can also help if you’d like to get your name trademarked.  An experienced lawyer can also represent you in court if you need to file a business lawsuit. 

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Last Modified: 11-20-2012 12:12 PM PST

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