There are endless angles and approaches a savvy business owner may take in the process of naming a business. Whatever process the business owner employs, he or she should consider that the best brand names are memorable, flexible, relevant and protectable in the marketplace. Additionally, the businesses brand name must accurately reflect the overarching brand strategy.
Business Name Clearance
Business names may or may not require a search. In most cases, the business will use its name in dealing with the public or others in the trade. Such business names should be searched in much the same way that a trademark or trade name would be searched. Moreover, if a business chooses to use a business DBA (assumed or fictitious business name (doing business as)) different from its registered business name, the DBA business name will also require a search.
Note, for South Carolina Limited Liability Companies, DBA’s or assumed or fictitious business names are not permitted under the SC LLC Act.
However, in situations where the business name will never be used when dealing with the public or the trade, there is little chance that the business name would cause confusion with another business name in the marketplace. In such situations, there is generally no need to conduct a business name (trademark and trade name) search.
Additionally, business names require a second type of search which is separate and distinct from the federal trademark search. As a general rule, a business name must also be cleared or reserved with the South Carolina Secretary of State’s Corporations Office in the state where the business will be incorporated or organized, and in each state the business will conduct its operations. Note that the Secretary of State’s Corporation Office determines only whether a business may be formed under a given business name, it does not determine whether the business name can be used in the marketplace.