Do Business Names have to be Unique?


When starting a business, the first thing you have to do is come up with a name for it. If you’re starting an online store or service, you’ll also want to consider whether your website address is available. This can be something as simple as finding out if someone in your industry has already taken it.

A Business Name can be trademarked if it is Distinct

A trademark is a word, phrase, symbol, or design that identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods of one party from those of others.

A business name can be trademarked if it is distinctive. This means that it has an ordinary meaning in English and is not confusingly similar to an existing trademark. Distinctiveness can arise from the way your product or service is marketed (called “secondary meaning”) or your company’s reputation in the marketplace.

If a business name is trademarked and your business is similar, you could be sued for infringing on their trademark. In some cases, businesses have to change their names because they’re too similar to another business’s name.

This can be very costly and stressful. Businesses may have to go through the entire process of rebranding again. There are legal costs involved as well as other fees that could add up quickly if you do not have the money available in the first place.

Don’t Steal Other People’s Business Names

You can’t just use a business name that someone else has already claimed, even if it is similar to yours. For example, if you want to open up your own flower shop called “The Roses Are Blooming” and a rival flower shop owner has already registered the trademark for “Roses Are Blooming,” then you can’t legally use that title for your business.

It’s also important not to infringe on any trademarks or patents owned by others when choosing a name for your company or product. Don’t worry about being too creative with your company names; there are plenty of original ideas out there.

You need to do a Trademark Search

To make sure that no one else is using your name, you should do a trademark search. You can do a free search at the USPTO website, but the results aren’t guaranteed to be accurate. If you want assurance that no one else has registered for your name, hire an attorney to conduct a search for you.

Why you might want a Unique Name

There are a number of reasons why you might want to choose a unique name:

  • It’s easy to remember, even if it doesn’t mean anything. Instead of relying on the wordplay and puns used by many businesses, use something that stands out. For example, if you sell sunglasses, you could call it “Eyewear.” If your business sells plumbing supplies, you could call yourself “Plumbings.” The more straightforward the name is, the easier it will be for potential customers (and search engines) to find what they’re looking for. This also means that less research needs to be done when searching for your business online—so customers can spend more time doing what they came there for buying products.
  • Your competitors will have an easier time finding you if your name isn’t used by other businesses in their area (or anywhere else). Searching through a list of results is much quicker than reading through each individual listing individually.

Use a Descriptive or Generic name

You can use a descriptive or generic name for your business, but you may have to register as an LLC (limited liability company) or DBA (doing business as).

An LLC is just like a corporation but it’s simpler and cheaper to establish. It can be taxed like any other company, but the owners are limited in their personal liability for business debts and claims.

A DBA allows you to do business under another name without actually forming a new type of entity. Instead of filing articles of incorporation, you’ll need to file articles of organization or similar forms with your state government office where you’re located—and these may be different depending on whether your state has formal requirements for doing this type of thing.

How much trouble could you get into with an identical or similar name?

If you use a name that is identical or similar to another business, you could be sued for trademark infringement. You may not be able to get a trademark at all if your name is too close to another company. If that happens, you might end up having to change your name—potentially losing brand recognition, marketing momentum, and money spent on advertising and marketing.

It is therefore wise to make sure that the names of your business are unique and distinct from any other businesses with similar products or services.

Benefits of Choosing a Unique Name

While a unique name is not the most important factor in your business’s success, there are benefits to choosing one. A unique name makes it easier for potential customers to remember who you are and what you do. You can get a better domain name if the domain name is available, especially if there are many other businesses with similar names.

When people hear or see your business’s name they will be able to recognize it more easily than if they had heard or seen another business with that same tagline. Having a unique tagline helps ensure that your company shows up in results instead of being buried under others using similar wording on their websites or social media platforms.


A unique name is not the most important factor in your business’s success, but there are benefits to choosing one. Namely, it can help build brand awareness and generate more targeted search results. On the other hand, if someone else has already trademarked a similar name, you may have trouble getting a domain name or trademark protection for your own business. In short: If you’re considering starting a new company and want to choose its name carefully.

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