There are Trademark laws in effect that prevent a newly formed business from operating under a name that can be mistaken for a pre-existing trademarked business name. If this law is violated, you can be required to change your business name and possibly pay monetary reparations to the company with the name you have replicated (intentionally or unintentionally). You can avoid violating the trademark law by doing research and choosing a name that is legally available.
Use a good Internet search engine to research your business name idea. Type in your proposed business name and click the "Search" button. If you find a duplicate business name on the Internet, there is a possibility this name has been trademarked. This is a sign you will have to research your official state website and the official United States Patent and Trademark Office website to verify whether the name is trademarked.
Go to your official state website and click on the Secretary of State section. There will be a search tool that will let you type in business names and see if the name has already been registered. If the name is not taken, put in an application as soon as possible to trademark your business name before someone else does.
Go to the official United States Patent and Trademark Office website at USPTO.gov. As of the date of this publication, in the center of the homepage is the Trademark menu. Click the second link "Search Marks." This takes you to the "TESS" database. Select the search option you want to use and search for your proposed business name. If there is no name match trademarked, you're home free and you can start the application process at the federal level as well to trademark you business name idea.
File your registration and trademark applications electronically. Your official state website and the official United States Patent and Trademark Office will give you the option to apply for a business name registration and trademark electronically. This is the quickest way to get your filing submitted.
The federal patent can take up to 6 months to a year to be approved. You will have to pay fees to trademark a business name. Both the United States Patent and Trademark Office and your state registration application require the applicable fee accompany your business name application.
Never use another business' trademarked name; this is illegal.
- Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images