How to Register a Name for a Business?


If you are going to start a new business, it’s important to register it with your state. This will protect you from other people using the name without permission and prevent confusion among customers.

Choose a Good Name

When choosing a name for your business, you should keep the following tips in mind:

Choose a name that is easy to remember. This can be accomplished by using an abbreviation or acronym that makes sense for your business and its products or services.

Choose a name that is not too long. Although convenience may be important when selecting a domain name, this doesn’t mean you should go overboard with the length of it—you don’t want anyone struggling just trying to type out all 26 letters of your website’s address each time they visit. A short but memorable domain name can help ensure traffic flows smoothly onto your site without requiring any additional effort from visitors besides typing in one word rather than an entire sentence into their browsers’ address bars.

Conduct a Search of the Name on the Internet

  • Conduct a search of the name on the internet. Make sure that no one else has registered it as a business name and that you are not infringing on anyone’s rights by using it.
  • Check for similar names that could cause confusion, such as if your company is named “George’s Auto Repair” but there is already an auto repair shop called “George’s Automotive.” Look at all variations of the name, including those spelled differently (for example, “Top Gear,” versus “Topcar”) or abbreviated (such as with an acronym).
  • Make sure your business name isn’t offensive or vulgar in any way. This could make customers uncomfortable and even drive away some potential clients. Also, make sure that it doesn’t contain any trademarks or copyrighted material belonging to another party; this could land you in trouble later down the road.

Conduct a Trademark Search

As a business owner, you need to conduct a trademark search. This is critical because it will help you determine whether the name of your company, product, service, or logo may be found to be confusingly similar to other companies. If so, your business may not be able to register either its name or logo as trademarks.

Determine if your state requires a fictitious business name statement to be filed.

Before you apply for a fictitious business name, it’s important to check with your state. Many states require businesses to file a “fictitious” or “assumed” name statement before doing so. In some cases, depending on the type of business you’re starting, you may have to register with the Secretary of State’s office as well.

In addition to researching your state’s fictitious name registration requirements online and by calling your local business division, you can also consult an attorney about any legal concerns surrounding this process.

Obtain the Correct form for Filing

You may be able to find the form for your state online. If you are unable to find it, contact the Secretary of State’s office in your state or county. If you do not live in the United States, contact your local equivalent of a Secretary of State’s office (e.g., if you live in Canada and want to register a fictitious business name for a Canadian business, contact Service Canada).

If no form is available online, call or write to each agency until someone provides one.

Complete the Fictitious Business Name Statement

Once you’ve decided on a business name, be sure to file the necessary paperwork with your state and county. The form is available from your Secretary of State or County Clerk’s office. It has to be notarized and filed in the state where you are doing business, whether it’s incorporated or unincorporated. If you’re using an assumed business name in addition to your actual legal name (like John Doe LLC), then this will also require filing with each county where there is a place of business associated with that assumed name.

Mail or Hand-deliver

When you’ve been approved to register your business, either by mail or hand-delivery, you may also be required to submit a copy of the application. This can be done by mailing it yourself or asking for help from a friend or relative. Mailing is more common and faster than hand-delivering, but it’s also more expensive because of postage costs. Hand delivery allows you to get your application directly into the hands of a clerk at the state office where you filed it. However, this approach can lack flexibility if the person receiving your documents isn’t available when you arrive. You may also be able to register online at some sites (though this is not always possible).

Why to Register a Business Name?

To protect your business name and logo, it’s important to register it with a state. You cannot use a name that is already registered to someone else (like “Apple”), but you can register the name as long as you aren’t violating any trademarks or copyright laws. If someone else uses your business name without permission, you can sue them for trademark infringement and win damages equal to three times the profits they made from using your registered trademark without permission.


If you are starting a new business, it is important that you register the name of your business. This will protect you from others who might try to steal it or use it on their own.

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