A Guide on How to Check Company Name Availability

Before establishing and developing your business, it is wise to check if your company name is available. Being forced to change your company name after you’ve already established a customer base can cause confusion, plus you could face a lawsuit if your name is too similar to a business in the same industry.  

Luckily, checking the availability of a company name is a simple process.

Check Trademark Availability

A trademark is a distinctive sign - such as words, a logo or a combination of both - that can be used to distinguish your products or services from those of your competitors. Before you pick a name for your company you will want to do a trademark search to make sure there is not a trademark for a similar name in a similar industry.

You are looking for trademarked names similar to the one your are thinking about using and in an industry that you plan to operate in.  Industries are indicated by an industry code (1-45). If there is a trademark for a similar name in the same industry as you would operate in (or you do something similar), then you may want to pick another name.  Not sure what industry you would operate in? Do a trademark search for your major competitors and see in what industries they have their trademark's registered.

Markify is a good trademark search service that offers free trademark monitoring.  

Check URL Availability

Many businesses these days, especially in the tech industry, require a website.  The URL for that website can be an important branding and marketing asset especially if your primary sales channel is via the web.  Before selecting a name, you should make sure the URL you plan to use is available.  Try typing in your business name and “.com” first, or use a domain search website like: www.whois.net.

Check Name Availability in the Business Formation State

Before you can form your company, you'll need to be sure that no other company is using the name you have selected.  If you are forming a Delaware entity, you can check the availability of a name at: Delaware State Government website.  In California, you can check on the Secretary of State’s website.


Need help checking the availability of a company name?

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