Naming a Business According to Law

Naming a business is one of the most anticipated aspects of turning an idea into a reality.  Some business owners have name ideas that they’ve had in mind for years, while others rush to find something that fits the business they’re hoping to start.  In either case, the legal implications of this decision are frequently overlooked, and doing so could lead to trouble.

Follow the steps below to ensure you’re on the right path when choosing a business name.

  • Do a search. One of the fastest ways to check the availability of a business name is to run a simple domain search using a site like  Because most businesses have an online presence, if you’re having trouble finding a domain associated with the name you have in mind, it may be because it already exists. T his can give a basic – yet not solid – idea of whether a name is available.
  • File a “Doing Business As.” In many situations, doing business under a company name rather than a personal name is the plan.  To have the business recognized for tax, banking and other legal purposes, a good first step is to register a D/B/A.
  • Trademark it. When coming up with a name, run a trademark search to be sure the name is not registered to another company.  If it is not, register it on your own to add protection in the future by preventing other companies from using the name.  Consider your company name an asset.
  • Work with a legal expert. When starting a business, there are many gray and questionable areas that could lead to trouble if not properly protected.  Working with a legal expert ensures the proper steps are taken from the start to protect you and your business.  It’s always better to be safe than sorry; this is especially true when selecting a business name.

If you’re ready to name your business or are interested in learning more about starting a business in general, speak with a business law lawyer, like Attorney Michael Hynum of Hynum Law in Harrisburg, PA, with your best interests in mind.  Set up a consultation today to discuss options and to get started.