How to Choose a Corporation or Domain Name and Not Get Sued

How to Choose a Corporation or Domain Name and Not Get Sued

Before any business opens its doors it must have a name. Naming a business and choosing a domain name can be difficult. The name should be memorable and relate to the values, products, or services provided by the company. Also to be considered, however, are the legal issues involved with naming a company.

The first step in naming a company is determining whether the name is available.  This can initially be checked online by doing a search to see what comes up. Take notice of similar names that are currently in use and what industries these companies are in. Another place to check is through the Secretary of State for the state in which the new business is being established or other states you expect to do business in. The state’s database can be searched for similar names already in existence. If there is an exact match or near match, the name will probably not be permitted.

In addition to searching the Secretary of State’s database, it is also important to perform a trademark search prior to buying your domain name or creating your corporate logo and branding. Though a domain name may be physically available, it does not necessarily mean that you should go ahead and use that domain as this is not an indication that the trademark or logo is available for use.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office offers free access to a trademark database. Search for federally registered trademarks here: http://www.uspto.gov/trademarks/index.jsp

Another helpful resource is The Thomas Register. This vast cross-industry database is also free: www.thomasnet.com

Finally, check for business names and domain names at Network Solutions. If a company has already purchased the domain name or similar domain names they will appear here: http://www.networksolutions.com/

Using any or all of these resources, while helpful, may not give a complete picture. It is smart to check multiple sources, or better yet, consult an attorney knowledgeable in Trademark law.

Also important in naming a company is establishing the company brand and trademark. A “mark” or trademark can be a word, phrase, or symbol that identifies a company. When determining a trademark, it is critical to understand the strength of the mark and whether consumers are likely to confuse it with another company.

In trademark law, a mark gains protection depending on its strength. A weak mark, such as a generic term, would have very little protection because the word or symbol is already widely used and probably associated with many different things. Conversely, a strong mark is usually an arbitrary term or phrase that is seemingly unrelated, but unmistakably capable of identifying the company’s goods without any likelihood of consumer confusion.

At the Law Offices of Jason H. Rosenblum, we can guide you in checking the availability of your desired corporate name. We can help you determine the strength of your mark. Once you chose a name and trademark, we can help you establish protection of your name and mark. Contact us for further information at 718-246-8482 and read more here: https://jhrlegal.com/trademark-law/

For more information on the differences between a registered entity, domain name and entity name, check out this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=F0MSuwOA-YE

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