Bloomberg Anywhere Remote Login Bloomberg Terminal Demo Request


Connecting decision makers to a dynamic network of information, people and ideas, Bloomberg quickly and accurately delivers business and financial information, news and insight around the world.


Financial Products

Enterprise Products


Customer Support

  • Americas

    +1 212 318 2000

  • Europe, Middle East, & Africa

    +44 20 7330 7500

  • Asia Pacific

    +65 6212 1000


Industry Products

Media Services

Follow Us

Bloomberg Customers

Protecting Your Business Name

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on March 23, 2006

It starts with making sure the name isn’t already being used by a business that will be in direct conflict with your use. It’s important to remember that unless a business identity is protected nationally, it’s very likely you will find numerous other businesses using the same name in other markets.

To determine if the name is available for your use, start by reviewing your county records for “DBA” business-name filings. Also, contact your secretary of state office to determine if another business has registered the name on a statewide basis.

Use the Internet to do a general search using one of the national telephone directories, like Big Yellow ( Also, use search engines such as Google to do a search for businesses that might be using the name.

If there are no obvious conflicts, start the registration process. By registering a business name, you establish some proprietary rights which could prevent a competitor from using the name of your business, or a similar one.

If you’re registering a business name for a sole proprietorship or partnership, the most common registration process is done on a county level, through the county courts recording office. Some states are now requiring business registration on a state level. To find out about the registration procedure in your state, contact the secretary of state or your local chamber of commerce.

If you will be filing a Limited Liability Company or a Corporation, all filing and registration is done through your respective secretary of state’s office.

If you’ll be conducting interstate trade, consider a registered trademark or servicemark. The trademark law allows national registration of “distinct” business identity marks. If you decide to file for a trademark or servicemark, it’s also advisable to consult a patent and trademark attorney.

Gene Fairbrother
ShopTalk 800® Business Consultant
National Association for the Self-Employed
Dallas, Texas

Reader Comments

Calvin Kent

October 16, 2006 7:51 AM

How do I find out if wackywindows is ok to choose for my business name

London, England

Dala Gorner

April 20, 2007 7:15 PM

Can a small business owner or owners be sued if they are not protected by filing with the state as a LLC, Limited Liability Company.

How can a licensed business protect personal assets, e.g. real estate, personal bank accounts?

Los Angeles, CA

Post a comment



Want to improve the way you run your business? Entrepreneurs, academics, and consultants from diverse industries offer practical advice on a variety of topics each business day.

To submit a tip for consideration, first check our archive of previous tips to make sure you're not repeating a tip someone has already contributed. Then send the tip to Small Business channel contributor Michelle Dammon Loyalka. Because of the volume of material she receives, she may not respond to each individual.

BW Mall - Sponsored Links

Buy a link now!