Why should I invest time in trademarking or registering my business name?
Sometimes doing an online search isn’t enough. It’s possible that a name was trademarked and never used or the company went out of business. For peace of mind, check out the Trademark Electronic Search System of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The requirements differ by state too; in some states it’s not possible to set up business under a name that’s already been registered. Though trademarks and business names are different legal issues, you could find yourself in hot water without surveying the landscape first.
What do I do next?
When you’re ready to finalize and trademark your business name, the U.S. Patent & Trademark office offers some really great resources. They’ll get you started on the process if you want to file online.
Once that’s out of the way, if you choose to name your business anything other than your personal name, you need to register it to comply with the law. This process is known as registering your “Doing Business As” (DBA) name.
Are there any differences nationally or locally to keep in mind?
Depending on the legal structure of your business, you may also need to register it with state agencies. The following business structures require registration:
Limited-liability company or partnership
This resource should clear up any doubts regarding state registration requirements for other types of businesses.
After all that it’s time to share the good news! You can finally start to spread the word about your business...
United States Patent and Trademark Office: http://www.uspto.gov/trademarks-getting-started/trademark-basics
Small Business Association: https://www.sba.gov/content/register-with-state-agencies