What to Consider When Naming a Company

By Andrew Millman Monday, July 10, 2017

what to know when naming a companyWhat Should You Know Before You Name Your Company?

There are many things to consider when incorporating a company. You will need to make many important decisions from the early days of your startup and then throughout the life of your company. Some of these significant choices are:

Creating a name for your company may be the hardest decision of all, since choosing the name of your company determines so many other aspects of your business, such as the website domain; the logo; the overall branding; and potential copyrights and trademarks.

In many cases, something as simple as the name of your company can determine its future. Google certainly has a much better ring to it than the original name, BackRub.  Sony definitely rolls off the tongue more smoothly than Tokyo Tsushin Kogyo. I think we can all agree that The Hertz Corporation sounds way better than Drive-Ur-Self. 

So the name you decide to utilize is very important. You also need to ensure the company name you choose does not infringe upon another company’s existing copyright or trademark.

If you’ve decided to incorporate in the state of Delaware, you may be wondering if you have to check the name in order to make sure it’s available. As far as Delaware is concerned, if the name is available and does not contain any restricted words, you’re good to go.  A few examples of words you cannot use in names for a corporation in Delaware are:

  • university
  • college
  • bank
  • trust

We can check the company name for any Delaware startup, and typically receive a definitive answer on whether or not it contains any restricted words and if the proposed company name will get approved by the Delaware Division of Corporations.

If you plan on operating your Delaware company in another state, you’ll need to protect your company name by filing for Foreign Qualification in that state. If another company already exist with the same name as yours, you’ll have to do business in that state under a Fictitious Name Statement, also called a D.B.A. (Doing Business As) Thus, it’s a good idea to check that state’s database of existing entities to make sure there are no conflicts.

If you run into any conflicts, you may end up using a different name that is available in all the states in which you want to operate. You’ll also need to consider if there are any additional restricted words in that state that are not allowed in your company name.

For example, if you end up registering a company in New York, the following words are restricted:

  • Acceptance          
  • Annuity    
  • Bank         
  • Benefit     
  • Bond                                            
  • Endowment                     
  • Finance
  • Guaranty
  • Insurance
  • Investment
  • Lawyer
  • Loan
  • Mortgage
  • Savings

If you qualify your company to do business in New Jersey, these words or any abbreviation or derivative of them are restricted:

  • Little League
  • Olympic
  • Realtor
  • Cemetery
  • Urban Renewal

These are just a few examples to show you how many possible complications there are when it comes to the name of your new corporation or LLC.  At Harvard Business Services, Inc., we’ll go above and beyond to help you check the name in other state’s databases, but you should always search your proposed name on the internet in as many ways as possible and research your states’ rules beforehand. 

If you have any questions about naming your new Delaware corporation or LLC, please reach out to me today at 302-644-6265 or via an email at andrew@delawareinc.com.

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