There are four steps you should take before you finalize your proposed business name and logo:
- Check the Secretary of State Division of Corporations to see if the name is available for a business entity in New York. (Corporation or Limited Liability Company). This will not, however, reveal Doing Business As (D/B/A) or assumed names used by New York businesses.
- Check the domain name registry (like GoDaddy.com) to see if the associated website is available. This can be important for your customers to easily find you online. It can also be a clue as to whether another business exists with the same or similar name. Not all trade names are registered as trademarks so uncovering common law (unregistered) marks are a necessary step to determine if a business name is available for use.
- Conduct a trademark clearance search. There is one Federal Register and fifty state trademark registers that need to be checked to determine if the same or confusingly similar trade name or logo is protected from use by newcomers.
- Conduct a common law search of the internet and product catalogs to uncover unregistered marks that could be infringed by your proposed trade name.
After obtaining your search results, you’ll need to interpret and analyze the search results. This requires an in-depth understanding of trademark and unfair competition laws. If you don’t feel confident about your ability to review your search results, an experienced trademark attorney can be helpful in this endeavor.