You’ve decided to go into business for yourself. You’ve done your research into your industry, overhead, equipment, advertising, etc. You’re all set to go, right? Wrong!
If you have NOT had comprehensive research conducted on your business name, then you do not know if it’s truly available.
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 (R) 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.
Don’t make the mistake of assuming your business name is available – only comprehensive research will tell you that!