Choose a business name that symbolizes your brand identity and does not conflict with the products or services you provide. Once you have decided on a name, you must protect it. There are four options for registering your company name. Each method of registering your name does a different job and depending on the structure and region of your business, some may be required by law.
There are several options for registering your business name
Name of entity
At the state level, the name of an entity can protect the name of your company. Depending on the structure and location of your business, the state may require you to register a legal entity.
The state uses your entity name to identify your company. Each state may have different restrictions regarding the use of your business name and company suffix. Most jurisdictions do not allow you to register a name that has already been taken, and some states claim that your company name reflects the business that it represents.
In most cases, registering your entity name protects your company and prohibits anyone else in the state from using the same name. However, there are exceptions to the state and company structure.
Consult your state regulations on how to register your business name.
A trademark can protect your company name, products and services nationally Trademarks prevent others in the same (or comparable) industry from using your trademarked name in the United States.
If you are an electronics firm and want to call your company Springfield Electronic Accessories and one of your items a screen cover 5000, trademarking those names will prevent other electronics companies or products from using those names.
Trademark infringement cases can be costly for businesses in any state. That’s why the names of your proposed business, products, and services should be cross-referenced with the official trademark database maintained by the US Patent and Trademark Office.
If you want your company to have an online presence, you must first register a domain name, also known as your website address or URL.
As long as you control it, no one else can use it after you have registered your domain name. This is an excellent strategy to protect your internet brand.
If the domain you want to use is already registered by someone else, that’s fine. Your domain name does not have to match your official business name, trademark or DBA.
A registrar service will help you to register your domain name Consult a directory of accredited registrars to determine which authorized registrars are safe to use and then choose the one that offers the best price and customer service. Your domain registration must be renewed regularly.
Your DBA – also known as a trade name, fictional name, or guess name – may be registered in the state, county, or city where your business is located. Although registering a DBA name does not provide legal protection and does not provide legal protection by itself, most jurisdictions require that you do so if you use one. Requires a DBA in various corporate formats
Although a DBA registration is not required, you may want to do so. A DBA lets you conduct business under a name other than your own or the name of your formal company entity. Having a DBA and a Federal Tax ID number (EIN) allows you to open a business bank account.
In one state, multiple businesses may use the same DBA, allowing you to be more creative with your name. There is more flexibility in terms of business function transparency. For example, a small business owner might name their entity Springfield Electronic Accessories still uses TechBuddy as their DBA. Just keep in mind that trademark laws will still apply.
Determine your DBA requirements, based on your specific region. Check with local government offices and websites for requirements vary by business structure, state, county, and municipality.