Friday, September 30, 2011

What's in a Name?

A friend of mine is getting ready to set up his own publishing company, and he asked me how he can make sure that the company name he selected is not already taken by another company. The first step is to just enter the name in a Google search and see what pops up. If you don't see the name or anything close to it, then you go to the website of the Secretary of State's office for the state in which you will be setting up your business. The website will indicate an area to navigate to for questions about businesses, and will often have a helpful section on setting up a business. You can run your potential name through a search on their website to see if the name has been taken in your state.

But my friend had a followup question. How do you know the name hasn't been used in another state? The Google search would have indicated that in a lot of cases. But what if someone else using the same name doesn't have an Internet presence of any kind? The only way to be 100% sure is to hire an attorney who specializes in business law to do a thorough search, including trademarks with similar names. It is too bad that there isn't a website you can search for all the possible matches U.S. or even world-wide. But if such a thing exists, I haven't found it.

1 comment: