Settling on the perfect name for your new business can be a frustrating experience. You may have compiled a list of candidates, but how do you select the right one? Making this decision implicates both practical and legal considerations. We know you want the best for your business and we understand how significant its name is.
Let the New York business lawyers of Rosenbaum & Taylor guide you in both starting and running your company.
What Are the Three Types of Business Names?
Business names consist of at least three names, distinct and usually different. Each one serves a unique purpose.
The legal name of a business may be considered its “official” name. Whether for a limited liability company, corporation, or some other entity, the legal name identifies your business. It sets it apart from all others and must be a name that is not already taken or reserved by another business.
One reason is to ensure that if your business is ever involved in litigation, it’s properly distinguished from other companies. A New York business law attorney can assist with selecting the proper legal name for your new business. More details about this name are provided below.
A business’s trade name is used in the course of a company providing goods and services to its customers. Many businesses choose to use their legal names as their trade names, but this isn’t necessary.
Companies may opt for a simpler and more readily identifiable trade name. As an example, Microsoft Corporation typically markets itself simply as “Microsoft.” A trade name is also called a DBA (doing business as) name.
Finally, you will need an appropriate domain name for your company’s website and email addresses. As with trade names, domain names should ideally be simple and relatively easy to remember. Microsoft provides another useful example here.
How to Choose a Legal Name in New York
There are several considerations involved in selecting your business’s legal name in New York.
Is the Name Available?
The business name must be “distinguishable” from existing ones. You will therefore need to determine whether the name you want to use is still available. To do so, search the New York Department of State’s Corporation and Business Entity Database.
If the name you want (or something very similar) is already taken, you will need to choose a new name.
Does It Violate Any Naming Restrictions?
State law restricts and prohibits the use of certain words and phrases in company names. A New York business law attorney can explain some of these restrictions. For instance, the name cannot mislead the public into believing the business is part of the government.
A business name might not be approved if it has “NYC” in it. That’s because customers might get the impression that the company is part of the New York City government.
Does the Business Name Include Its Legal Entity?
Finally, you must include the entity type in the business name. For corporations, you have to include “corporation,” “incorporated,” or “limited” in the business name. You may also use an abbreviation of one of these words, such as “corp” or “ltd.” As for LLCs, you just need to add “LLC” to the end of the business name.
Practical Issues in Naming Your New Business
Your company name is likely to be the first thing people will learn about your business. It’s therefore critical that the name makes a good first impression. Along with following the above and related legal criteria, you should consider a name that is:
- Easy to pronounce and spell
- Related to what your business does
- Consistent with your brand (e.g., if customer service matters to your company, don’t select a name that sounds clunky)
- Adaptable to all three types of names: legal, trade, and domain
You Can Rely On Our Trusted New York Business Lawyers
Rosenbaum & Taylor assists companies with all aspects of their New York businesses. This includes everything from selecting your legal entity to forming the business and representing it in legal proceedings. We can also advise you in choosing the best legal, trade, and domain names for your company.
Give us a call today at (914) 326-2660 to get started.