business name is its identity. With the huge growth in the availability of
diverse marketing tools with which to promote your business – from Web sites to
social media networking platforms, and
more – choosing the right business name, and ensuring it is registered and
protected, is more important than ever.
post covered the basics of choosing a business name that works for your
small business venture in a Web savvy world. Following directly from that post,
here are some tips to help you protect your business name against trademark
infringement and register it with the right regulatory bodies for the purposes
of taxation, incorporation, licenses, and permits.
1. Make Sure your Chosen Business Name is not a Registered Trademark
you have chosen your business name, you will need to determine whether another
business has already claimed a registered or unregistered trademark using your proposed
business name. You can do this by conducting a simple Internet search. If you
are in any doubt or simply want to avoid potential trademark violations, you
can also contact your local county clerk’s office to confirm name availability.
Multiple databases should be consulted to provide the most thorough search
effort. The Thomas Register (available online) provides entrepreneurs with a
free, unregistered trademark database. Federally registered
trademarks can be found on the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s database.
If you find a business
operating under your proposed name, you may still be able to use it, provided
your business and the existing business offer different goods/services or are
located in different regions.
2. Registering Your
If you choose to name your
business under a trade name, as opposed to your personal name – for example
“Joe’s Consulting Services” – you cannot operate that business under
that name until it is officially registered with your local government and you
receive a “Doing Business As” or DBA
permit from your local government. Until then, the legal name of your business
essentially defaults to your given name. Find out how to register
your business name in your state.
3. Trademarking your
your business name for an official trademark is not a required process, but it
can protect your business identity, as well as provide some form of reassurance
that your online brand identity will remain your own. If
you only do business in one state
you can register for a trademark at the state level (find your
state Web site here);
if you operate in more than one state you can register for a federal trademark via
Patent and Trademark Office.
understand more about trademark protection refer to this Patents, Trademarks
and Copyright Small Business Guide from www.business.gov.