Tips for Business Owners: Check These Things Before Deciding on a Business Name
Crystal Broughan, Intellectual Property Attorney Feb 14, 2019 in Basics of Intellectual Property
Choosing a company name can be one of the most exciting decisions you make when bringing a business to life – but it can also be one of the most difficult.
There is certainly more to it than tossing around catchy names until one sticks. It should be relevant, recognizable, easy to remember… and easy to spell. And of course, it has to be unique.
Develop a short list of name variations so you don’t have to completely start over should one option be registered already. Then, perform the following checks to ensure your business name is one of a kind:
Scour the internet. Look up the exact names on your list, as well as variations in spelling, word order, and key words within those names. It also would not hurt to perform your search using more than one search engine.
Search USPTO. Consider reaching out to an intellectual property attorney to help with a trademark clearance search that will include the U.S. Patent and Trademark Offices site (USPTO.org) and other databases. It will help you to understand whether or not you can register the name as a trademark.
Perform a Secretary of State search. Accessing state records of business names and fictitious names ensures your considerations are not too similar to existing business names. Florida provides a digital search tool that allows you to look up business names several ways, and your attorney will advise you based on the various status notations that may appear next to any similarly-named company. Depending on the current status of a name and how close it is to yours, the Secretary of State may not allow you to register it.
Make sure the domain name is available. After making your final business name selection, perform a domain name search. You should always secure the “.com” domain name over any other extension, as customers tend to associate a “.com” site with a more established business. You may need to purchase the name from the current owner if it is already claimed. If you are unable to obtain the domain name, consider a different name.
Create social media business pages. Run down your list of social media platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, SnapChat, and Pinterest – as well as any platform specific to your industry – and set up accounts. After you have created accounts to reserve your business name and handles for future marketing efforts, you should be set.