Register a Business Name - Explained
Protecting Your Business Name
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Table of ContentsHow do you Protect a Business Name?How to Register a Business Name With the State?What if My Business Name is Taken?
How do you Protect a Business Name?
A business name is a form of intellectual property. The rights in a business name are recognized under state and federal law.
You can register your name at the state level or protect your business name via trademark rights under state and federal law.
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How to Register a Business Name With the State?
The first step is to go to your Secretary of State's website and do a search for business names.
(Note: Sole proprietors or partners conduct business under a trade name may file a fictitious business name at the local county office or courthouse).
If the business name is not yet registered by another business, you can reserve it for a statutory period of time (usually 120 days).
If you are ready to register your business, you can elect the business name and file your business organization documents at the same time.
What if My Business Name is Taken?
The problem arises when the name is already in use by another business entity that is registered to do business within the state. If this is the case, the state will not allow you to register for that business name or any name that is deceptively similar to another business name.
Note: Registering a business name within your state does not preserve the name for use in other states. (See Trademarking a Business Name)