Before you get too invested in your favorite name for your new company, here’s what you need to do:
- Do a Google search to see who else is using it or something very close to it;
- If that’s clear, do a domain search at GoDaddy to see if the domain is available, or if someone already has it. Adding “The” or a “-“ is not sufficient to distinguish your domain from someone else’s.
The issues with names are:
- Is it too close to someone else’s name that the state won’t allow it, (found by a search of the state’s records), OR
- Is it too close to someone else’s name that they will send you a cease and desist order that you will have to legally defend, or change your brand after you have already invested in it, (found by a Google search to see who else is using it), OR
- Is the domain available (found by a GoDaddy or other domain-provider search); OR
- Is it too close to someone else’s name that your investors and their customers will be confused and call the wrong company?
In any of the above cases, the right answer is to find another name. We’ve had clients who have received cease and desist orders after making substantial investments in their brand. And we’ve had others that wanted to use a brand already in use by a multi-billion dollar hedge fund (who do you think wins that lawsuit?) There are both practical and legal reasons to choose a unique company name and domain. Spending the time up front to find the right name and corresponding domain will pay off in the long run, and help you sleep better at night.