No mere name. Choosing a name for your company entails more than just choosing what “fits” and building a brand around it. Instead, you must thoroughly compare your brand with other commercial brands, or you risk legal action for infringement of other firms’ trademarks. Choosing your company name is now a crucial step in avoiding trademark infringement.
Recent trademark issues involving company names have been reported in the media.
- Sol Cocina vs. Sol Kitchen
- Absolute Threshold vs. Absolut
- Out Front vs. Outfront
One of the entities was required to rebrand in each of these situations.
So how can you select a name you love that doesn’t violate another company’s trademark while getting the best of both worlds?
Here are some pointers to assist you in selecting a company name that won’t conflict with a trademark:
- Use various sources to do an extensive search for company names.
You can look for business names on the Secretary of State’s or general state website in every U.S. state. Check your state to see if any names similar to those you’re considering are listed. Also, perform a search in any other state or nation that you want to do business in.
- Check Godaddy.com or GoogleDomains.com to make sure you can get the domain name.
Even though trademark and domain law are distinct, if you can’t secure the domain, there is a strong likelihood that your us e of the name of another organization will infringe on its rights, making you liable.
- Search the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
You could breach another trademark even if your company name doesn’t immediately conflict with the name of another firm. You maybe subject to legal action if a business with a registered trademark believes that using your company name would likely lead to confusion. Make careful to look for any other spellings, synonyms, or names with a similar sound in our database.
Despite your best efforts, difficulties with your company or product name may still arise since this is a murky and complicated area of the law.
Consider having a brief consultation with a trademark attorney to ensure you select the most secure name for your company. One blog might help you avoid spending thousands of dollars!