Howard & Hardyman LLP

What to consider when creating the name of your business

There are many important decisions that go into creating an Illinois business, from the structure of the company to the responsibilities of the people who run it. However, keep in mind that you should put just as much consideration into what you would actually call the business. In fact, the wrong name for your business might cause you some legal problems down the line. 

As points out, the name of your company should sound pleasant to the human ear. You do not want a business name that sounds too grating or is hard for a person to speak. Consider your advertising plans. How well do you think your company's name will sound when spoken on the radio or television? Remember that your name has to hook the ears of media listeners or viewers. An abrasive name will likely turn off potential customers.

Also choose a name that is specific to your business. Avoid a name that is too generic. Think about what distinguishes your business from others. If you can, consider a name that includes a type of action. Also think about adding a descriptive word. The simple addition of a number or a verb can do a lot to change a bland and uninteresting business name.

Your business name also carries possible legal implications. You want to be able to trademark your business name as well as a logo or image your business will use so that your name and logo can be protected from infringement. However, you must make sure no one else has chosen your proposed business name. You may find another company has trademarked the name you want to use already.

Findlaw explains that using the name of an existing business can expose you to a lawsuit for trademark infringement. In fact, you could be sued if your company name or logo is too similar to that of another business. To avoid this possibility, you will have to conduct a number of checks to make sure no one else is using the name you want, including a search of the database for the United States Patent and Trademark Office and a search of the trademark database for the state of Illinois.

Keep in mind that not all trademarks are registered, so your search will have to cover other sources, but it is worth it to clear your business name for use. In addition to government database searches and online searches, you can consult a professional business attorney. An experienced lawyer can tell you about business name sources that you have not considered.

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  • Illinois State Bar Association
  • WCBA | Winnebago County | Bar Association | Established 1996
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