Some of today’s blog post will pertain specifically to San Diego businesses. The rest will be important to all potential small business owners, regardless of where in the US their business is located.
One of the first ideas an entrepreneur comes up with is what the name of their business is going to be. It’s going to be catchy and roll off the tongue, and immediately give the company a presence in the community. But it’s not quite as simple as coming up with a name. First, a new business owner needs to make sure of several things before opening the business with the name they have chosen. Most importantly, the business owner must figure out if anyone else has the name in the same geographical area. If the other business has a very similar name, but their business is entirely different from yours (for example if you own a shoe company and there is a butcher shop with the same name), you might be in the clear.
Second, now that you’ve realized that there are no competitors with similar names in your geographical area, make sure there aren’t any competitors with similar names elsewhere in the country. Near or far, the reason for doing this is two-fold – you’d like to get a trademark for your business name and protect the name or you don’t want to infringe on someone’s existing trademark. If no one has the trademark, if you apply for a trademark then you have to be aware that the existing business that shares your name might file an opposition to your trademark. If someone does have the trademark, then you should consider a different name, because you’ll likely be receiving a cease and desist letter from their attorney.
A trademark attorney can help you through this process. I can help you figure out whether your trademark application is strong or not, what the likelihood of success is, and whether oppositions might be filed against your application. I can also help you determine whether the name of your business might be infringing on another business’s existing trademark by using my expertise and experience to make sure your name is good to go.
With San Diego businesses, the naming process also requires additional steps. First, make sure you get a Fictitious Business License from San Diego County, especially if you’re not incorporated. Second, if you’re thinking about incorporating, the incorporation process gives you a few additional benefits for protecting your name from others using it.
The name of your business is important: it will be tied to the quality of your goods and services. Your customers will know you by that name, and if someone tries to co-opt it, you must defend your company’s name, a tremendous amount of the company’s value is tied to it. Good Luck out there, and as always if you have any additional questions feel free to schedule an initial consultation to discuss it with me.
If you’d like to hear more on the topic, I discussed this on The Andrea Kaye Show that aired on June 21, 2016 on AM 1170