How To Avoid Duplicate Company Names within the Same State

The name of your company is very important for your business.  The company name carries the company’s reputation, identifies you to clients, and distinguishes the company from other similar companies.  Because of this, it is important that you avoid duplicate company names within the same state.  Here is how to avoid having the same name as other companies to promote your business and avoid confusing clients.

  1. Look for company lists.  Company names are listed and updated in publications and databases.  To find these lists, consult the authorities that are responsible for recording the names of businesses and companies.  Inquire with your state’s Business Development Center, Chamber of Commerce, or Secretary of State.  Find their numbers in directories or visit their websites to contact them.  Search for company name lists online.  Use the words ‘company name lists’ and add more words to refine your search.
  2. Check online.  Type the company name you plan to use on your Internet search engine and the name of the state.  See if there are websites or articles that mention other companies with the same name that you have entered.  If not, your company name may be unique in the state you have specified.
  3. Go to your state office and file a DBA.  A DBA, or a Doing Business As form, is a legal document that identifies the name you’ll use for your company.  The state office checks whether other businesses are using that name.  If you have a unique company name for that state, you are given permission to use the company name and the right to keep that name.  Businesses who register may not use the name you have chosen anymore.
  4. Go to your state’s repository library.  Find out records of business information, including lists of company names, within your state.  Consult your yellow pages or find online directories to find the phone number and address of the repository library within your state.
  5. Visit your state’s business registration website.  Some states allow online registration for businesses.  These kinds of websites keep track of business names and check that there are no two different companies that have the same name.
  6. Don’t limit your search in one state.  If you plan to spread your company into other states, you must check whether there are companies that have the same name as yours.  Because of this, you must think of a unique yet relevant name for your company.  Expand your searches to include states where you plan to position your companies.
  7. Have your company name patented.  Go to the Patent and Trademark Office to patent your company name so that no other businesses anywhere may copy it.  The office checks whether there are existing company names that are similar to yours.  If there are none, then you are sure that your company name is unique to any state.

In order to avoid legal trouble, make sure that the company name you use is unique to the state it is in.  If you have thought of names, check its availability as soon as possible to prevent other companies from using the name.


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