Faux pas

The name game

The name game

Thinking of starting a business? LSU law professor Lee Ann Lockridge, offers the following advice in selecting a name for it:

Know the law

Simply registering a company with the Secretary of State’s Office doesn’t provide trademark protection of the business name. If you’re committed to the name, make sure it’s cleared for use—even if you’re uncertain whether you’ll ever plan to expand to other markets.


Before you spend money consulting an attorney, you can discern whether someone else might hold a trademark to your preferred name and mark through an online search.


If it appears others are using your company’s proposed name, take the added step of checking the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office database to see who might have usage rights.

Weigh the expense

Although as a new business owner you might not want to spend money up front for the legal expenses of properly vetting a name, that should be weighed against the potential expense of fighting a challenge or having to change the name down the road.

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