Can I open a business with the same name as one in another state?

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Can I open a business with the same name as one in another state?

I am opening up a medical type practice, and have a name, but it is registered in
another state. Kansas does not allow for DBAs, and I want to file for an LLC, but
don’t know if I can if it is the same in another state.

Asked on March 6, 2018 under Business Law, Missouri

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

You can register--that is open--a business with a certain name in state 2 even if there is another business with the same name in state 1: business registration is by state, so as long as that name is not currently registered in your state (either for a business formed in your state or a "foreign" [out-of-state] business registered to do business in your state), you can form a business using that name.
However, bear in mind that separate from the issue of forming/registering a business, if they have trademarked the name, you could not also trademark it--*and* they may be able to force you to cease and desist using it. Trademark law is independent of state-level business registration law. A good idea is to do a trademark search on the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (PTO) website, to see if the name is a registered trademark.


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