When developing a business name, not only should the business name reflect its brand and be memorable, but there are a host of legal issues to consider. Also, naming a business that is capable of trademark registration is very, very important.
Business Name Clearance
Business names may or may not require a trademark search. In most cases, the business will use its name in dealing with the public or others in the trade. Such business names should be searched in much the same way that a trademark or trade name would be searched. Moreover, if a business chooses to use a DBA (assumed or fictitious business name (doing business as)) different from its registered business name, the DBA business name will also require a search.
However, in situations where the business name will never be used when dealing with the public or the trade, there is little chance that the business name would cause confusion with another business name in the marketplace. In such situations, there is generally no need to conduct a business name (trade name and trademark) search.
Additionally, business names require a second type of search which is separate and distinct from the trademark search. As a general rule, a business name must also be cleared or reserved with the Secretary of State’s Corporations Office in the state where the business will be incorporated or organized, and in each state the business will conduct its operations. Note that the Illinois Secretary of State’s Corporation Office determines only whether a business may be formed under a given business name, it does not determine whether the business name can be used in the marketplace – see trademark infringement.