Choosing the right name for your business is a crucial step in the formation of a business process. The reason for this is because the name of a business is the first thing that people will notice when encountering your business online or in the physical world.
A name is essential to your business since this can affect whether or not your business is successful. Thus, it is very important that you select a name that will not only attract clients, but will also indicate the purpose of your business in a manner that is obvious to others without having to give it much thought.
What Are Some Tips for Choosing a Business Name?
There are a number of tips that one should consider when choosing the name of a business. Aside from picking a name that is legally valid and complies with the various business regulations in a certain jurisdiction, a business owner will need to choose a name that is not already in use by another company.
A business owner will also need to include any suffixes that are required by law, such as the term “Inc.” at the end of the name of a corporation. In addition, a business owner should select a name that will draw customers to their business.
Some other tips that may be useful when choosing a name for a business can include:
- Clear and simple: The name of a business should be clear and simple to remember. In an ideal world, the name of a business should also be short, easy to spell, and not cause confusion for the average consumer.
- Avoid abbreviations: In the past, many now major corporations, such as IBM and AT&T, were known to use abbreviations to shorten the names of their companies. However, using an abbreviation or initials for a newly formed business should be avoided since it is outdated and too many companies already use them.
- Visual appeal: A business name should be visually appealing. A name can be made visually appealing by choosing vibrant colors, using nontraditional fonts, and/or inserting an image or logo in the name.
- Names with meaning: A business owner should consider the purpose of their company and try to pick a name that quickly explains what the company does or sells. For example, a bakery may want to include the name of their best-selling product or the baked goods that caused the owners to establish the bakery in its name.
- Trademark registrations: A good test for a company name is to see if it is already in use by another company and is also trademarked. A business owner can determine whether the name of a business is already taken by searching the trademark database. This will also help them to avoid legal disputes in the future.
- Be exciting: The name of a business should also be something that is fun, catchy, and/or exciting to customers. Again, business owners should choose a name that would attract customers, as opposed to one that is technical and a potentially dull sounding name.
- Avoid misconceptions: A business owner should also avoid using a name that would deceive, mislead, or defraud consumers.
What If Someone Is Trying to Use My Business Name?
In many instances, simply registering the name of a business within a particular state will most likely not prevent another business from referencing or actually using the name of another business. Thus, in order to protect the name of a business from unauthorized use, the business owner will need to file and submit the proper legal forms to register the name as a trademark.
Applying for a trademark of a business’s name can be a complex process that requires a submission of all the images and words that may be associated with the name of a business. Similar to when a business registers as an LLC, the business owner will need to perform research that determines whether a business name exists and is already trademarked by another company.
It should be noted that a business cannot use the name of a company that is already trademarked. In cases where a dispute arises over the name of a company, the parties may be required to submit evidence that proves they were the first ones to use the name for their business. For instance, a party to such a dispute may be able to submit paperwork with a date that shows they registered for a trademark earlier than the other company.
In addition, if another company is claiming they had the name first and is also attempting to unlawfully use a competitor’s trademark, then the company whose intellectual property rights are being infringed on may be able to sue for damages. This type of situation may occur if improper use of a company’s logo or name results in a business losing revenue or leads to a damaged reputation.
Can I Change My Business Name Later On?
Changing a name can be a costly endeavor for a business. However, this does not mean that a business is not free to do so. If a business owner is not satisfied with their company’s name, they will be permitted to change the name of their company to something different.
As mentioned, this can be an expensive undertaking. This is especially true of companies that have been in business for a long time and have lots of merchandise or equipment branded with their names.
It is important to note that there may be some exceptions to changing the name of a business. For example, if the name of a business is already in use by another company, then the business owner will not be allowed to change it to the exact same name.
Additionally, certain business structures require legally specified words to be part of the name. For instance, a limited liability company (“LLC”) must incorporate the term “LLC” or “limited liability company” as part of its name when registering a business as an LLC.
Lastly, a business that changes its name will need to comply with any other legal requirements and/or procedures under the laws in their state, which will include notifying their state taxing agency of a business’s new name for the purposes of filing and paying state taxes.
Do I Need a Lawyer If I Need Help Choosing a Business Name?
Lawsuits involving a dispute over a business name can be both costly and time consuming. Such disputes can also interfere with operating your business and generating a profit. Thus, it may be in your best interest to speak to a local corporate lawyer before selecting a name for your business in order to prevent these types of legal disputes from occurring in the future and disrupting business operations.
An experienced business lawyer will be able to conduct legal research and determine whether the name you select is available or not. Your lawyer will also be able to assist you in obtaining a trademark for the name of your business as well as can help you to register for other forms of intellectual property that you may want or need for your business.
In addition, your lawyer will be able to provide legal representation in court or at any other conferences related to your business matter. Lastly, if you wish to take legal action against another business for using your name or any of your business’s intellectual property, your lawyer will also be able to assist you in filing a lawsuit against that business.