Starting a new business can be overwhelming, exciting and confusing all at once. Whatever the business, all new businesses have to deal with funding, advertising, organization, ownership structure, etc.. 1 area that’s neglected by most is ensuring that the name of this business is really available.
There are 16+ million trade names being used in the United States. Similar names in related classes, distribution channels and client matter too. You are influenced by Common Law use (14 million), State Trademarks (500,000) and Federal Trademarks (2 million).
Research is required to create certain your trade name is lawfully available and it’s best to do this before: opening, expansion, incorporation or designing your logo.
Here are the 2 most important reasons research is a necessity:
* It’s Your Responsibility
It’s up to every business owner to ensure that the name they are using is not infringing upon the other’s Federal or State trademark in addition to any previous Common-Law rights. Though some governmental agencies (e.g. County Clerks,” Secretary of States, the US Patent and Trademark Office) will conduct their own research, it’s quite restricted in extent.
* It’s for Your Advantage
In an ever-expanding market, the competition amongst businesses has become fiercer. Overcoming the barrier of reaching consumers is but one little step. Now, after that initial contact was made, how you get a customer to purchase and/or come back to you is a bigger obstacle. Brand recognition is going to be a significant advantage to you in this region.
Let us examine it from the perspective of most customers’ buying habits – several visits to unique shops, websites, etc. in order to compare and contrast. Florida business entity search Ensuring that your name is legally available means that customers will not confuse your products/services with a different party’s products/services and so, guaranteeing that if customers seem your own business up by name, they’re finding you rather than your competitor.
The next question is how to start it?
Preliminary research is a great place to begin but keep in mind that any free resource available online is merely scratching the surface. Comprehensive research involves searching the registered and pending Federal & State trademark files as well as US National Common-Law files. Also, it is not exactly what you search but the way you search it. Similarities in Sound, Appearance or Meaning matter, therefore when searching preliminary blogs be sure to search for synonyms, spelling variations, word placements, etc..
Free preliminary resources:
* Your County Clerk – could have an Internet searchable database
* USPTO – visit the TRADEMARKS section
* Search Engines
* Online Yellow Page Listings
It is best to leave the comprehensive research aspect to specialist firms or lawyers. But first, make the most of the free resources that are out there. Next, when the name appears to be available, then you can delve into using comprehensive research conducted. Provided the comprehensive research demonstrates clear, you can then determine if you want to apply for a Federal or a State trademark.
With the countless details confronting the new business owner, the name of the business should be among the first procured details. Once you understand the name is lawfully available, you will be able to rest easy that you are not infringing upon anyone and your customers know precisely who you are.