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How do I choose a name for my business?

When completing your articles of incorporation you will need to indicate a unique name for your business. The name should not lead consumers to confuse your business with another business already in existence, especially if that business operates in the same region or industry in which you plan to conduct business. Best practice is to shortlist your top four or five picks and then conduct a quick search using the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s online search tool to make sure no other businesses have matching or similar names.

Because of the importance of business names and the potential brand value associated, many businesses find it worthwhile to hire an attorney trademark specialist to ensure that no trademark infringement exists. Doing so may mean the difference between having a well-recognized business name and being forced to file bankruptcy under the weight of infringement lawsuits.

It is also recommended that you check with your state of incorporation to see if the name is available. Many states now have online registries that allow you to do a quick search. Others allow you to obtain preapproval by phone or mail.