There are hundreds of important decisions that go into starting a successful business. While having a great idea and a reasonable amount of funding are crucial, picking the right name for a business is more important than some may think.
The success of a business rarely comes without great branding. Moreover, it is important to make sure that the logos and names chosen can be used without running afoul of someone else’s copyright.
Tips for clearing a name
There are a number of different ways to check to see if a proposed name is usable, including this straightforward list by Forbes:
- Do a Google search: Look for companies with the same name, zeroing in specifically on those in the same field.
- Check the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office website: Here you can checks for federal trademarks registrations.
- Check the Secretary of State corporate or LLC records: Do this for every state you plan to do business.
- Check the domain name for the web site: Use GoDaddy.com or other services to see if a domain name is available. Do not underestimate the importance of this.
Pick the right name
Make sure your proposed name is distinctive, unique and easy to remember, particularly if you plan to go into the retail or hospitality sectors. Make sure that it is broad enough so that it will not have to be changed as the company expands. Also, vet the name with employees, investors, customers and thought leaders to see if there are any negative connotations tied to the name domestically or internationally. It is also prudent to have a handful of backup names so that there are options if the proposed name does not work.
Consult with an intellectual property lawyer
Even after doing due diligence by applying the above tips and advice, it is wise to then consult an intellectual property lawyer. Their experience and knowledge enables them to dig deeper and more thoroughly when clearing a proposed name. They can also provide guidance for solving the many obstacles any new business faces while getting the endeavor off the ground.