Five things to know when selecting a business/product name

You are in the process of starting a new business or launching a new product or service and now it is time to think up that killer name. Once you come up with your name, you will need to create a logo, labels, packaging, brochures, business cards, letterhead, social media profiles, etc. and I presume that this could cost thousands of dollars. Most businesses do not have an unlimited marketing budget so each dollar spent is precious. Once you publish the new name of your business, product or service, the last thing you want to receive in the mail is a cease and desist letter informing you that you are infringing upon the trademark of another business. In coming up with your new name, you should review the following five items:

  1. Do not choose just one name. You should come up with a few different options and then rank these options. This will provide you with some flexibility during your name search process.
  2. Review the Ohio Secretary of State’s website. The Ohio Secretary of State is the governmental entity within the State of Ohio that will incorporate or organize your business. You will also file any trade names, fictitious names or trademarks/service marks with this entity. When I have a client ask about the use of a particular name, this is the first place I turn to check on availability.
  3. Review the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) website. The USPTO is the federal governmental entity where a business will register a trademark/service mark. So, even though a search on the Ohio Secretary of State’s website may indicate that your selected name is available, you must perform a search of the USPTO’s website. This is because a trademark registered with the USPTO will have national reach and will apply to every business in every state.
  4. Perform an Internet search. You should perform a general Internet search of your selected name. This search will provide you with valuable information in determining if others may be using your selected name or a similar name.
  5. Domain name selection. How do you want your selected name to be displayed in a domain name? Do you want it displayed as Trademark.Com, TheTrademark.Com, Trade-Mark.Com? What if the .Com is already taken? Are you okay with using a .Net, .Biz, etc.? I like to use the website Whois.Com when conducting my domain name searches.

The above five items are not an exclusive list of items to review when selecting a name for your business, product or service, but a review of these five items will provide you with some useful information in determining if any other businesses or people are using names that are the same as or similar to your selected name(s).

This article does not provide legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship. If you have any questions or would like to learn more about this topic or if you have other legal questions, do not hesitate to contact Chris Corpus, Esq. of Corpus Law Inc at Chris@CorpusLawInc.Com or 216-973-2475. Copyright Christopher A. Corpus 2016.

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Chris Corpus

Founding Partner at Corpus Law Inc

This article does not provide legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship. If you have any questions or would like to learn more about this topic or if you have other legal questions, do not hesitate to contact Chris Corpus, Esq. of Corpus Law Inc at 216-973-2475. Copyright Christopher A. Corpus 2016.