Descriptive names, such as "Finest Coffee and Tea Shop" tell the customers what products or services your business offers, may entice customers, and will make your business easier to find if its website domain name also contains these keywords. However, if you would like to later apply for a Federal Trademark (®), a merely descriptive name will most likely be rejected, and unique names are favored for trademark registration, such as "Nike". It is usually not necessary to have a registered trademark, but a trademark facilitates legal recourse against copy-cat competitors who might try to pass off their product as your brand. Your choice of the name will depend on what names are available
. Before you start anything, check all of these for name availability
- Website Domain Name Availability - also check similar names. Avoid names for which .com .org domains are taken because someone who remembers your business name but not the URL, is likely to try visiting .com version first. Some people also consider other domain endings as sub par (.us, .biz, etc).
- TESS database of registered trademarks - Generally don't pick a name that is the same or very similar to another trademark. However, if someone else's trademark is in a different product/service category, there is a chance that you may still be able to use it in your product category. Consult trademark documentation.
- Your State's online database of businesses - Search "New York Entity Search" or similar for your state. It's usually best to form the business in the state where it will have workers, offices, or perform work, otherwise you not be protected by limited liability, or you may have to pay extra fees to Foreign-File your business in your state.
- Check if the business name that you are considering has an undesirable meaning in foreign language(s) that some of your customers may speak. For example, Google "Your-Company-Name Spanish"