One of the more exciting things to do when you open up a company is, in this case, a corporation selects the name of the corporation. Whenever I have a client who’s looking to select the name of their corporation, I have them look in one of four places.
- The first place that I have them look is with the California Secretary of State. The California Secretary of State has a business division’s section and they have an internet and you can do a business search to see whether or not another company has used your name or your desired name and is currently using it now, which would prevent you from also using it.
- The second place that I have people look is Google. Google is a great place to look because it picks up the use of names not only in a particular county or city or state, but it also picks it up federally. One of the things I always warn clients about is making certain that in the selection of the name of their company, they’re not going to violate another person’s claim to that particular trade name.
- The third place that I have people look is the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The USPTO has a website where you can go. It’s in the trademark section and they do trademark electronic searches and they do that through their own particular system and you can run a name through their system to see whether or not anybody has actually trademarked the name. If someone’s trademarked the name, it’s wise of you to reconsider the name that you want to use and think again about what might be appropriate for the business.
- The last place that I have people look would be with the county wherein they plan to do business. In this particular case, we would go to the County of Orange and we would search their fictitious business name database to see whether or not anybody was using that particular name in the county where we wanted to do business.