Thursday, May 17, 2007

What's in a name? That which we call a rose...

This week the Mogulettes and I attended a seminar on Trademarks and Copyrights sponsored by the Neighborhood Entrepreneur Law Project and the Field Center for Entrepreneurship at Baruch College. I was surprised to find out that you don't neccessarily have to register a trademark for the name of your company -simply by using it you own it - unless of course, someone else came up with the name before you did, in which case, they own it.

It's really important to do a thorough search to see if the name you want to give your business is already taken. It could end up costing you mucho dinero if you have to change your logo and reprint all your you marketing materials because someone else owns the name! A trendy Manhattan restaurant now called Serafina had to change it's name from Sophia at the height of its popularity for that same reason. They not only had to alter the logo on the outdoor signage, the menus, the business cards, etc. - then there was also the question of whether their clients would accept the new name and if they would recoginize the brand.

Here's a few places to check: or for domain names

US Trademark Office database for business names

Your local County Clerk's office to see if there is already a business registered under your name

Here's a few good tips from "A Girl's Guide to Starting Your Own Business": check with a lawyer or accountant and have them run a city, state and national search to make sure that no one else has claimed it. Then once you know the name you want is available, run it by a professional or personal circle to get feedback. Make sure it's broad enough to encompass any future areas your company may expand into.

Check out this set of articles from on domain names:
Find the Perfect Domain Name
Protecting Your Business Name Online
Keeping Your Domain Current

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the links, Carmina. I've a collection of domain names stored at; whenever I think of a new name, I simply purchase and park it with them.

If you name it, it will come.

By the way, I love your blog and really admire your commitment to sharing your knowledge of entrepreneurship with us. I can't thank you enough for all the information I've gleaned from your hard work and generosity.

Jackie B.