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Did a quick Google search on business name searches. Came up with this firm. Anyone use them? Any comments about name searches in general? I know I can do business under my own name, i.e. Womanontheverge LLC, but would prefer to do business under a company name such as xyz financial, LLC. in which case, it seems to me that a name search and possibly a trademark registration would be in order. What do you say?

http://www.creativetrademark.com/faqs.cfm

Womanontheverge
taking a break from kitchen patrol - boy T-day makes a big mess!
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To see if a name is available on the web just type it in i.e. www.myname.com or dot tv etc. If your name is taken you'll go to the site. If not you'll get a message saying the name couldn't be found.

There are several sites on the web that will sign you up once you find a name you like that isn't taken.

Dave
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but would prefer to do business under a company name such as xyz financial, LLC. in which case, it seems to me that a name search and possibly a trademark registration would be in order.


If you plan to become a LLC, your state office that handles such matters (Secretary of State usually) has a list of names that have already been "registered" and thus are not available for use in your state. Many have a website where you can search for free to see if the name is in use.

I think a few questions are in order here though before you spend a lot of time and energy on this.

1. What exactly do you hope to accomplish by conducting a name search? Were you thinking of conducting a name search nationwide or just in your state/area?


2. What reason do you have for registering your business name as a trademark? It's not as common as you might think - so make sure you have a good reason. Make sure you realize what a trademark registration will and will not accomplish for you.

ShelbyBoy
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To see if a name is available on the web just type it in i.e. www.myname.com or dot tv etc. If your name is taken you'll go to the site. If not you'll get a message saying the name couldn't be found.

There are several sites on the web that will sign you up once you find a name you like that isn't taken.

Dave



I thought womanontheverge was asking about business names instead of domain names, maybe I misunderstood.

ShelbyBoy
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1. What exactly do you hope to accomplish by conducting a name search? Were you thinking of conducting a name search nationwide or just in your state/area?

A national search. I will potentially be doing business over the web (netmeeting, phone & fax) with people from outside my home state.

The thought was, if I'm creating a business name, investing time and money to market that name - I don't want to have to change it later, should someone else order me, with backup, to 'cease and desist' using their business name.

2. What reason do you have for registering your business name as a trademark? It's not as common as you might think - so make sure you have a good reason. Make sure you realize what a trademark registration will and will not accomplish for you.

I was thinking - should the name prove to be free and clear, that I would serve notice to the country that the name is MY name - hands off! Of course, I do realize that if someone didn't do a search, they could start using my name all unknowingly - and that the gov't deosn't find or stop this, it would be up to me to then issue the 'cease and desist' order - but with my registration to back me up.

One of the, perhaps unstated, aspects of my question was - should I worry about this stuff? Between the search and the registration fee it will cost a min of $600. If I don't register - just do the search to assure myself that I'm not likely to be looking at a future name change request - I understand that there are common law protections of having a history of trading under a name. But they fall short of the protection afforded by registration - just not sure how important it all is.


Womanonthverge
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One of the, perhaps unstated, aspects of my question was - should I worry about this stuff?

In my opinion - "NO". Instead, spend your time, energy, and money growing & refining your financial services business.



Between the search and the registration fee it will cost a min of $600.

Keep in mind the search you are talking about here is for a search of trademarked names.

That wouldn't tell you if someone was using the name as a corporation, sole proprietership, partnership, etc., just that the name isn't trademarked.



If I don't register - just do the search to assure myself that I'm not likely to be looking at a future name change request..

Amazon.com fought a small bookstore named "Amazon" for months over the use of the name. The small bookstore had the name first but had not "trademarked" the name.

Once Amazon.com found out about the bookstore, it had to try and get the store to stop using the name in order to protect its trademark.

Consider whether the advantages are worth the burden you will bear.


ShelbyBoy
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You want to protect your name. That is good, however when engaging outside service providers your going to want someone who will take responsibility and ownership of your name. I'm assuming that you believe the name etc will be valuable. The firm you mentioned, I looked at their website and I saw nothing about them standing behind their work.

Since your looking for a "trademark" you can search the United States Patent and Trademark office's database for FREE. If nothing is found at all you probably don't need any outside advice. Trademarks are for specific areas of service, and if "your" name is in there but for a diffrent service etc you may still be able to have it.

The website is here
http://www.uspto.gov/

and the form to search for trademarks is here.
http://tess.uspto.gov/bin/gate.exe?f=tess&state=1salck.1.1

Before you hire these other people use this. Personally, I would spend the EXTRA money for a lawyer to do the search because they can be sued and held liable for screwing things up.

Once again, this is all based on the idea your creating a name that has value. For a great many companies the "name" isn't worth that much. The relationships and contacts of the owner are where the value is, the name can change and so long as the person people know is there they do business at that place.
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Hi all,

I have a follow-up to this question: after doing the TESS search for the name I like for my soon-to-be created business I found it isn't trademarked with the US office. But the name is taken on the web for the .com, .net and .biz domains.

I could always come up with a different URL for the website, but does it make sense to file for a trademark to try and force others to give up the name wholesale, including rights to the URL? Seems like a ton of hassle but I do worry about prospects typing in the name for my business on the web and not finding me.

Perhaps I can solve this last problem by spending extra cash with the online directories like Overture, Google, Yahoo!, etc.?

Any thoughts?

Tim
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I could always come up with a different URL for the website, but does it make sense to file for a trademark to try and force others to give up the name wholesale, including rights to the URL?

No - not in my opinion.

Have you performed a WHOIS search to see who has the URL's registered? You might be about to wake up an 800-pound gorilla.



Seems like a ton of hassle but I do worry about prospects typing in the name for my business on the web and not finding me.

Are you going to be primarily an Internet-based business or a brick and mortar business that happens to have a website?

Unless you are going to be doing something unique, there probably won't be many people blindly typing your business name with a .com at the end into their browser window. I operate half a dozen sites and none have the same name as my business.

Have you considered changing the name you plan to use so you can get a URL with the same name? It's not necessary to being successful, but some people seem to want the business name and URL to be the same.

ShelbyBoy
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But the name is taken on the web for the .com, .net and .biz domains.

Is there a website published for either of these URL's? The URL's might be parked at a domain sales site.

ShelbyBoy

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A national search.

If you're talking about using womanontheverge, LLC or womanontheverge, Inc. that's going to be quite a hassle. Business organizations are regulated at the state level, not nationally. So you'll be checking with all 50 states to see if that name is available. Then you'll need to register that name with each state to make sure no one else can use it. That will take time and money - and lots of both.

Tradmarking the name will not handle these problems.

--Peter
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<<No - not in my opinion.>>

I think you're right.

<<Have you performed a WHOIS search to see who has the URL's registered? You might be about to wake up an 800-pound gorilla.>>

Nope. How do I do a WHOIS search?

<<Are you going to be primarily an Internet-based business or a brick and mortar business that happens to have a website?>>

Primarily Internet-based. I'm starting a consulting business out of my home. Most of the work can be done with this computer, a phone, and a broadband connection.

<<Have you considered changing the name you plan to use so you can get a URL with the same name? It's not necessary to being successful, but some people seem to want the business name and URL to be the same.>>

Yeah, but as you point out, I don't need to make this a deal-breaker. Business will be driven by how well I go sell clients proactively. The website is unlikely to drive much business on its own.

Thanks for the advice,

Tim
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<<Is there a website published for either of these URL's? The URL's might be parked at a domain sales site.>>

Yep, there's a real website at the end of each URL. Bummer, eh?

Tim
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Nope. How do I do a WHOIS search?


There are several options.

For one, go to http://www.directnic.com/ and enter the URL in the search box, click the WHOIS option, and click SEARCH.

When the results come back, scroll down to see who registered the URL.

ShelbyBoy
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I learned one thing from a very wise marketing man who has departed this earth. Your name is the most important thing you business has.

Your name may be the only thing people will ever know about your company. A good name is worth it's weight in gold. It will make every advertizment, communication, and business card more effective. A name YOU like isn't as important as a name that works for you. Every business has a great many names that could work, don't get married to one.

With a name you need to do the following
1. Let me know what you do
2. Give me a reason to buy, in other words try and create a image or make yourself diffrent than everyone else
3. If possible make it catchy or memorible.

Do remember
1. Putting your name in there makes no diffrence
2. Initials or abreviations don't do a thing for you
3. The longer it is the more people won't remember it



Picking a good name, this is important. Makeing sure no one can take that name from you is also good.
I'm not sure exactly what business your starting but for many people all they need to ever do is stop someone from using the name close to them. You might be taking this to far.
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