After you have decided to set up your own small business and made a business plan, you need to look into business name availability. Keep in mind that all the business names you have chosen may not be available. You need to make sure that the business name you have chosen is available and you are allowed to do business under that name. If you don’t check the availability of business name, it is entirely possible for another business to come in at a later date and force you to use another name. Therefore, it is important that you do some research in order to make sure your chosen business name is available.
Basics Of Trademark Law
Experts recommend understanding the basics of trademark law in order to stay out of trouble. In simple terms, trademarks are there to prevent someone from taking advantage of the goodwill of an existing business by confusing consumers with a similar sounding name. An existing business may take you to court for infringing on its trademark rights in case the name chosen by you for your business is too similar to their name.
In such a case, the court may force you to change the name of your existing business. In fact, you may also be liable for monetary damages. Therefore, you need to do some research in order to make sure you are not infringing on someone’s trademark.
Issues With Trademarks
One of the biggest problems with trademarks is that it can be established just by using the name and there is no requirement of business registration lookup their trademarks. In other words, there are registered as well as unregistered trademarks. You need to do your own research as there is no single place where you can find all the trademark names in use.
The best ways to start your research is to go on to your favorite search engine and punch in the name that you are planning to use. Since almost all the businesses have an online presence, the results should include an existing business with same name in case it exists. If nothing comes up, it does not mean that the name is available. You need to do dig further.
Registered Fictitious Business Names
You should also check the fictitious name database. All the registered fictitious business names that are currently in use in your state are contained in these databases. After performing an online search, you should check this database in order to make sure that it is available for use. It has been observed that many businesses register the name in the fictitious name database but they do not register it as a trademark or do not put it online.
If you are setting up a limited partnership, LLC or a corporation, you can check with the state’s filing office to find out whether this particular name is available for use. The last place for you to check is the registered trademarks database maintained by the federal government. You can easily check this database by searching on their website.
Overall, these are some of the tips you need to keep in mind in order to make sure the business name you want to use is available and can be used for your business.