What’s In A Name? A Quick Guide to Naming Your Business, Product, Book or Service

Before you get attached to the brilliant name you’ve just created, there are some important places to check so you won’t be disappointed. Even worse, so you don’t run into some legal hassles down the road. It’s important to be clear in your product branding and marketing. A confused customer doesn’t buy.Here are 3 essential places to search before you sign on the dotted line:1. Domain Names. Make sure you check to see if your chosen name has been registered by someone else. It isn’t the end of the world if someone has your .com, but you want to make sure your market won’t be confused by the .com website. Owning a domain name doesn’t give you any legal rights, so don’t be confused. A great resource is http://www.godaddy.com2. Trademark Search. You’ll want to do a trademark search on your desired name. It’s easy to do, but not necessarily quick, depending on the name. You can do the search at http://www.uspto.gov Click on the Trademark link on the left side of the page and then the search button. Use the new user search and put in all the words of your name. For your first search, use “and” in the search term box (3rd box down) to see if someone has a trademark on your desired name. Then do a search for “or”. You’ll see a lot more responses. Take the time to go through all the responses to see if there is a conflict with the name you’ve chosen. A trademark is the only way to protect the intellectual property of your name, so if it will extend your company’s visibility or brand, you may want to consider securing the trademark.3. Corporate or Business Name in Your State. Contact the Secretary of State’s office and see if anyone is using the name in business. Many states have a website where you can do a search on corporations and LLC’s or PC’s.If you are creating the title for a book or product, the copyright law does not protect you. Titles are not covered by copyright law, so you’ll want to make sure your title stands out from the crowd. For more information about what is and is not covered by copyright law, visit the US Copyright office at http://www.copyright.gov .The reason we check these 3 areas is so that you don’t run into trouble down the road. It would be a shame to produce a product or great service and then send your potential clients to another business. Please note that this information is intended for educational purposes only and is not legal advice. If you have legal questions, please consult your lawer.