Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

Full Bio →

Written by

UPDATED: Feb 7, 2020

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.

We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

Editorial Guidelines: We are a free online resource for anyone interested in learning more about legal topics and insurance. Our goal is to be an objective, third-party resource for everything legal and insurance related. We update our site regularly, and all content is reviewed by experts.

Prior to forming a business, it is necessary to determine the name of your business. This may seem like an easy process, but it is necessary to research if the desired name for your new business is already in use by another business. If you select a name that is identical or similar to another established business, especially if the other business is a competitor, it could result in a lawsuit against you and cause disruption of your business activities.

How to Check Business Name Availability

There are several ways to find out if the desired name for your business is available. Most businesses have websites and a good place to start your business name search is through your favorite search engine. This is an effective and free way to begin your search.

If you are incorporating your business, or organizing it as an LLC or LLP, contact your state filing office for information on registered businesses.

Some businesses trademark their business name, which means that the business uses items such as words presented in a specific format or symbols to identify their business. These trademarks are most often registered and can be searched for on the United States Patent and Trademark Office website. There are also websites that can assist you in determining if your desired corporate trademark is already in use, such as Corpnet.

Another resource for checking business name availability is Networksolutions.com, which is a list of reserved or used domain names. Business name searches can also be done in directories like Info Space, Info USA, or Super Pages, which are helpful to determine if your desired business name is already in use by another business. An added plus is that they are free.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Unregistered Trademarks

Many businesses have unregistered trademarks that they just use as their name and have not registered formally as their trademark. However, these businesses still have legal rights to their name. Check your county clerk’s office or statewide fictitious or assumed business names list. These lists will help you find out if your name conflicts with unregistered business names. Again, there are websites, such as Corpnet, that can help you determine the availability of your desired corporate trademark.

Getting Help

Consulting a trademark attorney is advisable if you need assistance with selecting a business name or protecting a business name.