When you are searching for company name for sale, there are mainly two things that you should keep in mind, the legality of that name and the commercial use. In terms of checking legality of your business name, you have to consult with local attorneys as every country and region has its own laws regarding that. Some of the laws are global while some are applied on the local scale; for example you cannot use the word “bank” in a company name if this is not a financial institution.
The legal requirements for the business name can depend upon the country, state government and even the culture. The commercial use of your business name does not deal with the law unless you are doing something not according to the law itself, instead it deals with the marketing and advertising strategies and how you are going to use that name to increase your customers and ultimately sales. For example, using the name “Fart Bar” for a chocolate bar that you are going to sell in an English speaking country is definitely not a good move. In case you are wondering, it is a real name and real Polish product, it translates to Lucky Bar in Polish.
How to make that business name “yours”?
First of all, you must know trademark laws are different than copyright laws and business laws. In short, trademark laws protect your name, slogan and logo. Copyright laws protect your work while business laws protect your business identity and the business itself but none of these laws guarantee 100% exclusivity of your business name. However you can increase your chances by being the first and by being alert.
Business name has almost the same rights that a personal name has. You cannot claim exclusive use of your own name and you cannot force other people to not using that name. But you and your business have rights to protect its own identity. In other words, if another business is intentionally confusing people and you are losing customers because of that company then you can protect your name and identity.
On the other hand, if a business has exactly the same name as your business in a different city or country and there is no way that business can affect your business because of the same name then you cannot claim exclusive use of that name. For example, hypothetically McDonald Burgers and McDonald Hardware Store can coexist in a same city as they won’t affect each other’s business and customers.
How to establish your business name?
Usually there are three different ways to establish your business name. The simplest ways is to choose your own name as a business name like Joe’s Restaurant or John Consulting. This kind of name usually does not require paperwork but that may vary depending on your location and local laws. Additionally many businessmen register their business name anyway so they can claim that name whenever needed.
The second way is registering a DBA that refers to Doing Business As or fictitious business name. Registering a DBA gives business rights to use signs and bank accounts. Fictitious names are usually managed by local government and it takes only few days to register your business name. In USA, county government handles such work, there could be a less than $100 fee and they will check that the name you are trying to register is not already registered by someone else.
The third level is registering your corporate structure. Regardless of your business is a LLC or corporation, two companies cannot have the exact same name in a state. However there could be a corporation registered with the same name as many other fictitious business names in a state, this kind of duplications could happen.
In which cases you cannot use an identical or similar name?
There is a very simple rule to decide whether you should use an identical or similar business name or not. If the business name you want is identical or similar to another major business that is one of the top companies in its industry then do not use that name. A big company would have enough resources and more importantly enough reason to come after you for trademark and copyright infringement. Additionally, if that business name is a registered trademark then do not use that name or even a similar name. You can check the list of registered trademarks from official websites of your government.
You cannot use the exact spellings and you cannot even use different spellings with similar sound because this will give other business enough reason to file lawsuit against you for stealing their business. In USA, a registered federal trademark allows the owner to use that name in whole country exclusively.
In which cases you can use a similar name?
Gladly, in many cases you can use an identical or similar name for your business. First of all the name you are going to use must not be very popular or must not be associated with a particular product or company. For example if the name you are going to use is already being used by another business but that company sells very different kind of products or services then there might be chances you can use the same name for your business too.
The most important factor here is the geographical location; if the other business with the same name is very far away and only serves a limited community or population then it is much safer for you to use that name too, although this could not possibly be applied on internet based companies and startups because they serve globally. The main question and factor here is whether those same names would confuse customers? For example if a business named ABC sells cakes then it is safe for computer repairing business to use the same name.
If you are on the other side of the table and want to protect your business name and identity then you have to take legal actions. The sooner you register your business name the better because you’ll get advantage over other companies using the same name after you.
Finding company name for sale
Finding a company name for sale could be the easiest or hardest part of your business plan depending on how you do it. There are many online tools and websites that can do this job for you.
BizNameWiz is one of the easiest and simplest business naming tools available on the internet. All you have to do is enter your keyword and BizNameWiz will suggest different names based on that keyword. It also checks for the domain name availability so you don’t have to do that manually.
Name Thingy is quite different than most of the other naming tools and websites. It shows a continuous feed of business names and you can check domain name availalbity on the spot. Users can provide the starting word and get similar business names instantly.