Monday, April 02, 2007

How to Choose a Business Name:
Part Four – Know if the Name is Available

Welcome to part 4 of a 4 part series about how to choose a business name.

Here's the schedule:

3/12: Know Your Industry
3/19: Know Your Customers
3/26: Know Your Message/Personality
• Today: Know if the Name is Available

This subject is, obviously, near and dear to me as this is my bread & butter.

A common mistake many new business owners make is assuming that their business name is available simply because:

* the domain name was available

* the fictitious name was available
* the corporate name was available
* internet research showed the name was available

* yellow page research showed the name was available

The above are
merely preliminary indications of what business names, service names, and product names are out there. Only comprehensive research will tell you if a name is truly available for use.

Ok, so what is comprehensive research?

Comprehensive research entails searching a variety of files.
The first step is a comprehensive search of the pending and registered Federal and State trademark files. Similar names matter too! The search should look for similarities in Sound, Appearance and Meaning, which means looking at synonyms, spelling variations, word placement, translations (if necessary), etc.

The second step is a comprehensive search of US National Common-Law files. This entails searching
all incorporation records, all fictitious name/DBA records, Dun & Bradstreet  records, product announcements, newspapers, company directories, etc.

If the research proves clear on both steps, you can then decide if you'd like to file for a State or Federal trademark.

This concludes our 4-part series in choosing a business name. The 4 topics I chose are those that are the ones I think most important. Are there other steps you think should be considered?

TradeMark Express Blog Schedule

The Importance of Creative Naming
Trademark Information

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