Demorest Law’s commitment to the business community has encouraged us to offer a three-part series on naming and branding your new or existing business. This article will be the first installment of that series and will focus on the importance of choosing an appropriate name. The other two installments will cover Trademarks and Restricted Names.
Moving forward, some of the biggest mistakes that a business owner or professional can make is choosing a name that is:
- Already in use, or
- Not distinguishable from an already existing business.
Preemptive measures may be employed to limit the possibility of having an application for the formation of a corporation, LLC, or LLP rejected. One of the best tools for business owners is the LARA website. For those unfamiliar with the acronym, LARA stands for the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs. This state agency website provides a helpful search tool which allows prospective owners to look up existing names and ensure that their ability to name their company is not hindered by an already existing business.
Inquiring minds must also be aware of the fact that simply adding “corporation” to the name of an already existing entity does not make it distinguishable. In fact, the addition or deletion of any of the following are not enough to distinguish one business from another: corporation, company, incorporated, limited, corp, co., inc., or ltd. As provided by the above links, differentiating by adding or deleting “the” or a special character such as a comma will not be sufficient. The goal of differentiating a business is met by the use of different words or singularity and plurality, i.e. a company named “Plum” would be differentiated from another company operating under the name “Plums.”
We hope that these writings and online tools may help you in your future business endeavors, and as always, our firm is available to help guide you through any insecurity in the process.
This article was written by Nezar Habhab, Law Clerk.