If a Business Is No Longer Active Online Can I Use Its Name?
When coming up with a business idea, what you are planning to sell, your target market and where you will be located, are essential details you should determine from the offset. However, one thing most people decide on last is what they will name their businesses. The business title you choose will say a lot about you as a person and your business, and therefore, you need to be careful when making this decision.
You may be thinking of using a name of another business which is not active online. This is not a bad idea. However, you need to be cautious before you make such a move. Therefore, consider doing the following things before start handing out cards or flyers and looking for bookkeeping services quick books online.
Do Your Research
Online inactivity does not mean that a business has been shut down. Some well-known establishments, (especially older ones) have almost no online presence. Additionally, you may find that a company is restructuring, and therefore, may not update anything for a couple of months. By doing your research, you will be able to determine that the business name you want to use is currently not being used by another active establishment.
- Go Through Official and Unofficial Channels
You need to be sure that no other store is selling the same products or services as you, and has a similar name. However, running an online search is not enough to tell you which businesses have an online presence. This is because some of the companies are not registered but are operational. Therefore, make sure to check on as many databases as you can find. This will prevent you from being sued for infringement and ending up with a lawsuit.
- Confirm That the Name Has Not Been Trademarked
Even if a company is dormant but, they had trademarked their name you will not be allowed to use it. Therefore, register a company, also make sure to confirm that no one has trademarked the name you had in mind, to avoid legal battles. If you do notice that this has been done, avoid coming up with variations of the name by changing the spellings, because this could still get you in trouble.
- Consider Reaching Out To The Original Business Owner.
Before you adopt another person’s business name, it is always best to have all the facts. By talking to the owner of the former enterprise you can even negotiate to use their name, or some variation of it without any legal lines being crossed. Additionally, once you agree, make sure that this is well documented. For such negotiations, however, it is always best that you consult your lawyer beforehand, or to have them present.
Register For a Trademark
After doing all your research and even getting permission to use your preferred company name, you can register your venture and start operating. However, although you have the right to use the name consider registering it as a trademark. This will protect it from being used by other people, which can, in turn, lead to confusion among your customers. Make sure you let your lawyer if you plan to trade internationally, to ensure that they include it in the application.
With business names, keep in mind that even slight variations of a registered name can get you in trouble. However, if your line of work is different from that of the abandoned venture, whose name you want to take, then unless it is trademarked, you can go ahead and register your establishment.