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Protecting Your Business’s Name

December 11, 2014

Many people believe that simply by incorporating a corporation or forming a limited liability company they will be entitled to exclusive use of the name.  

This is not the case and another Corporation or LLC can be formed with a similar name as long as it is distinguished. A geographical limitation will often suffice. For example, the Secretary of State would probably approve Rochester Acme Corporation even though Acme Corporation had been previously filed.

If your name is used in connection with goods or services the corporate or LLC name provides no protection against others using the name. For maximum protection, a trademark or service mark registration should be obtained. If your goods and services are sold exclusively in New York you are eligible to apply for a New York registration which will offer protection against other New York users and establish your date of first usage. If your goods and services are sold in interstate or international commerce, including sales to Canada, you would be entitled to register your mark with the United States Trademark Office and that will provide additional protection.