Considering the most effective ways to secure your desired business name in 2021
After figuring out the ideal business name for your company, you will undoubtedly want to ensure you are following the necessary steps in order to effectively:
- a) register and secure your new business name, and
- b) prevent any other businesses from being able to use your name
There are three recommended ways for a business to go about registering their company name; not all methods are universally applicable to all types of businesses and not all businesses will be secure via only one method.
In practice, determining the most effective way for a company to register their business name is considered on a case by case basis; this is because the most effective method will commonly depend on several extenuating factors- such as the business’s corporate structure, its geographical location, and its economic status.
Having said that, this article will take a deep dive into the 3 most popular and effective ways for a company to register a business name in 2021- analytically breaking down the strategic benefits and disadvantages of each one.
Method Number 1: Creating a Legal Entity
One of the most commonly used methods for a corporation to go about registering their newly discovered business name is to form a business entity- such as a Limited Liability Company (LLC) or a Partnership.
In doing so, the company must the required steps to ensure it:
- a) files the required registration documents with the appropriate state or government agency- depending on the geographical location of the business,
- b) thoroughly checks the relative state records in order to ensure the desired name is indeed available and not currently being used by another company, and
- c) officially selects their business name.
It should be noted that even though creating a business entity will undoubtedly protect your company name in the state of the registration, it will not provide any such security in any other state.
Following any reasonably predictable plans to expand into other geographical areas, you would need to independently register your company in each new state- assuming it is not already registered there.
Method Number 2: Utilize an Assumed Name
Regardless of the specific type of entity in question, any company that is wanting to operate under any type of business name other than its own is required to register such name as an ‘assumed name’- commonly referred to as a ‘fictitious name’ or ‘doing business as’ (DBA).
As briefly touched on above, the specific nature of this process will of course depend on the geographical location of the business. Most commonly, it will be performed on a county level, but it can undoubtedly occasionally require state agency involvement depending on the registered location of business operations.
Any business considering the option to register a desired business name under this type of procedure should take into account that any checking of the available state records will still undoubtedly display the business’s actual name pre-change.
Essentially, this process allows your company to use- or in other words, ‘assume’, a desired name but it does not actually alter the official name of your company.
Method Number 3: Trademark and Trade Name Registration
Companies are also able to protect their desired business name via Trademark or Trade Name registration. They should, however, keep in mind that the required formalities for such a process:
- a) can vary significantly from state to state,
- b) are generally significantly more complicated and high-priced in comparison to the aforementioned alternatives, and
- c) require a much greater amount of time and effort in order to ensure that a similar company name has not already been trademarked in any other state in the country.
On the other hand, companies registering their name as a trademark in accordance with the United States Patent and Trademark Office will find that this way provides nationwide security once successfully completed and consequently undoubtedly carries its fair share of benefits.
Ultimately, deciding the most effective way for you to protect your ideal business name will undoubtedly have to be handled on a case-by-case basis; a comprehensive consideration of your corporate structure, available budget and geographical commercial presence will allow you to make disciplined, transparent decisions and guide you in favour of your company’s best interests.