Starting a new business may be overwhelming, confusing and exciting all at once. Whatever the industry, all new businesses need to deal with funding, advertising, business, ownership structure, etc.. 1 area that is neglected by many people is ensuring that the name of this business is truly available.
There are 16+ million trade names being used in the United States. Similar names thing, if close in sound, appearance or meaning. Similar names in associated classes, distribution channels and client matter too.
Research is needed to make certain that your trade name is legally available and it’s ideal to do this before: opening, expansion, incorporation or designing your logo. After all, why put in all that time, effort & money into a name that’s already owned by a different party?
Here are the 2 most important factors research is a requirement:
* It Is Your Duty
It is up to each business owner to ensure that the name they’re using is not infringing upon another’s Federal or State trademark as well as any prior Common-Law rights. While some governmental agencies (e.g. County Clerks, Secretary of States, the US Patent and Trademark Office) will run their own research, it is rather restricted in extent.
However, this search does NOT contain State trademarks or Common-Law databases, like incorporations, fictitious names/DBAs, business directories, domain names, product announcements, etc..
* It’s for Your Benefit
In an ever-expanding market, the competition amongst businesses is becoming fiercer. Overcoming the barrier of reaching customers is but one little step. Florida Department of State entity search Now, once that first contact has been made, how you get a customer to buy and/or return to you is a much bigger hurdle. Brand recognition is going to be a major advantage to you in this area.
Let’s look at it from the point of view of the majority of customers’ buying habits – several visits to different shops, sites, etc. to be able to compare and contrast. Ensuring that your name is legally available means that clients won’t confuse your products/services with another party’s products/services and so, guaranteeing that if customers look your business up by name, they’re finding you and not your competitor.
The next question is the way to start it?
Preliminary research is a superb place to start but keep in mind that any free source available on the internet is merely scratching the surface. Comprehensive research entails searching the pending and registered Federal & State trademark files as well as US National Common-Law documents. Also, it is not exactly what you search but how you search it. Similarities in Audio, Look or Meaning thing, so when searching preliminary sites be sure to search for synonyms, spelling variants, word placements, etc..
Free preliminary resources:
* Your County Clerk – may have an Internet searchable database
* Your Secretary of State – might have an Internet searchable database
* USPTO – visit the TRADEMARKS section
* Search Engines
* Online Yellow Page Listings
It’s best to leave the comprehensive research facet to specialist companies or attorneys. But first, take advantage of the free tools which are out there. Then, when the name seems to be available, you can delve into having comprehensive research ran. Provided the comprehensive research proves clear, after that you can determine if you want to apply for a Federal or a State trademark.
With the hundreds of details confronting the new business operator, the name of the business should be one of the first secured details. As soon as you know the name is legally available, you’ll have the ability to rest easy that you are not infringing upon anyone and that your customers know precisely who you are.