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Trademarks, Domains and Your Brand Name

On Behalf of | Sep 24, 2020 | Business Law

When picking a company name, it’s vital to initially conduct research to avoid trademark infringement or domain name conflicts. You may be infringing someone’s trademark if the use of your mark is likely to cause confusion among customers as to the source of the goods or services. The following are potential steps to avoid naming issues:


1. Conduct a Google search on the name to find what other companies may be using the name.
2. Conduct a search at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office site (www.uspto.gov) for federal trademark registrations on the name you are considering.
3. Conduct a search of Secretary of State corporate or LLC records in the states where the company will do business to determine if anyone is using the same or a similar name.
4. Conduct a search on a name registrars to see if the domain name you want is available. Should the “.com” domain name be unavailable, this can be problematic and have potential conflicts.
5. Endeavor to think of the name that is both distinctive and memorable.
6. Consult with an intellectual property lawyer to do a professional trademark search.
7. Don’t make the name so limiting that you will have to change it later on as the business changes or expands.
8. Think of a number of names you like, and test market it with prospective employees, partners, investors, and customers.
9. Think about international implications of the name (you don’t want to have a name that turns out to be embarrassing or negative in another language).
10. Avoid unusual spellings of the name. This is likely to cause problems or confusion down the road (though some companies like Google or Yahoo have been successful with unusual names, such success is often the exception rather than the rule).

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