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Starting a Business: The One Mistake Many Owners Make When Starting a Business

You have decided to start your own business. You have researched your industry, overhead, equipment, advertising, etc. You’re ready to go, right? Mistaken!

If you have NOT done extensive research on your business name, then you don’t know if it is actually available.

A common mistake many new business owners make is to assume that their business name is available simply because:

  • the domain name was available
  • fictitious name was available
  • company name was available
  • Internet research showed that the name was available
  • yellow page research showed the name was available

The above are merely preliminary indications of what trade names, service names and product names exist. Only thorough research will tell you if a name is actually available for use.

Okay, so what is a comprehensive investigation?

Extensive research involves searching through a variety of files.

The first step is a thorough search of the pending and registered trademark in federal and state files. Similar names matter too! The search should look for similarities in sound, appearance, and meaning, which means looking for synonyms, spelling variations, word placement, translations (if necessary), etc.

The second step is a comprehensive search of the US national common law archives. This involves searching all incorporating records, all fictitious names/DBA records, Dun & Bradstreet (R) records, product advertisements, newspapers, business directories, etc.

If the investigation is clear in both steps, you can decide if you want to apply for a state or federal trademark.

Don’t make the mistake of assuming your company name is available; only thorough research will tell you that!

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