Find a Company Name

Get help finding an available name that works for you

What you get with this 6-step starter guide:

If you have no idea - or just some idea - what to name your company, this Starter Guide is for you.

We'll help you get a list of a few potential names together, then run them through a series of checks to make sure you avoid common pitfalls - like using a name that someone else is already using in a business that is similar to yours.

And remember: lots of companies change their name after they start. It's not that big a deal, and for most new businesses, there are many more important things founders should spend time on other than finding the "perfect" name.

Who needs this starter guide:

This Guide is for starters who want help choosing a company name that fits their business, will work with an available .com domain name, and is likely to avoid the most common trademark and other conflicts.

Resources used in this starter guide:

Details about this starter guide:

Cost:

Included

Department:

Marketing

Company Stage:

Evaluate Launch

Frequently Asked Questions (8)

How critical is it to pick the PERFECT name for your company? 


It's not. 

Find something you like, that's not being used by another company to sell competing products or services, and go with it. 
What's the difference between a company's legal name and its trade name?
Companies often have more than one name.

For small businesses, the two most important types of names are legal names and trade names. Understanding the difference will help you choose the right name for your company. This blog post tells you everything you need to know.
What the heck are trademarks - and service marks - and why should I care?
Trademarks can be confusing. That's why we wrote this post on trademark basics.
Check it out, it's just a 4-minute read.

In a nutshell, having a trademark on a name or logo means you can keep someone else from using that name or logo to sell the same kind of goods or services as you. This is why it's important to know if there is an existing trademark that is the same or confusingly similar to the name you want to use for your company.
Can I change my name later?
Absolutely! Until you actually submit your company's organizational documents for filing, the legal name is not set in stone.

Even after you've legally formed your company, you can change its legal name by filing an amendment to the organizational documents with the Secretary of State - although that does require some legal documents and a filing fee. 
Is the name I choose in this Starter Guide the same as the legal name of my company?
Not necessarily. A company's 'legal' name is the name of the company in the records of the state in which the company is legally formed.

The name under which a company does business (i.e., the name you'll put on the outside of your skyscraper in a few short years!) is usually referred to as a 'trade name'. Trade names and legal names are often identical, but not always.

To keep things simple, we recommend that your trade name and legal name be the same - but they don't have to be. In this Starter Guide, you're selecting your trade name.
What's a domain name?
Put simply, it's the name of a website. So target.com, nytimes.com, and redcross.org are all domain names.

Related: a "URL" is a complete website address - like www.nytimes.com/section/technology. So you can see that a URL will usually contain a domain name (www.nytimes.com, in this case).
What's a trademark?
So glad you asked! This Starter Post explains exactly what a trademark is, and it's just a 5 minute read!
How can I tell if I can trademark my company’s name, or the name of my company’s product or service?
The short answer is that there is no way to know if the name is able to be trademarked unless and until the USPTO actually registers the trademark or servicemark. A trademark lawyer or any number of trademark service providers will, for a fee, conduct what is called a “clearance search”, during which they’ll review not just the USPTO database, but all 50 states’ trademark databases, private company name databases, domain name databases, Google searches, and maybe even foreign trademark databases.

These comprehensive searches can cost several thousand dollars, and even then there are no guarantees that a proposed mark can be registered without opposition. If trademark protection is going to be critical to your company’s success, you should seek out an experienced trademark attorney in your area.

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