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What's in a Name?

Posted on by Beth Wallace

A very popular topic among entrepreneurs starting a new business venture is naming the business.

If you have ever tried to come up with a business name, you understand that the process is not always a simple one and there is typically a lengthy process involved taking into consideration variables such as a the name having sentimental value, coinciding with branding and other marketing tactics, describing the type of service or products sold and more.

Once the name is chosen, a business often wants to protect the name so no other business may use the same name.  In other words, the business becomes territorial over the right to use the name.  When our office fields questions on this topic, we offer the following bits of advice (non-legal of course).

  • Be sure that the name is unique and verify the name is available.
  • If the name is not trademarked or legally protected, the name could potentially be used.  However, be prepared for the business with a similar name to legally challenge you in court over use of the name.
  • Consider who had the name first, however, this does not mean that this will hold up in court should you be legally challenged.
  • Consider your industry, products/services, reach, geographic location of your marketplace and your target audience – local, regional, national or international.  This includes online sales if applicable.
  • Once a name is chosen and it is determined unique, be sure to purchase domain names for a website and create a website so your business and its name will come up in web searches.
  • If you have similar words as another business in the name, consider altering or adding words unique to your business.

In conclusion, there is no definitive way to name a business, but if you take the time to research, you will have a good chance to use a name unique to your business.