So, you’ve decided to go into business. You’ve locked down your startup funds, and you’ve laid out the perfect business model. But what are you going to call yourself? You want something catchy and distinctive, and you want people to like it. But can you call your business anything you want? The answer is simple—no—but figuring out exactly what you can and cannot use as your company name can be a little more difficult.
The first step in choosing a name is to decide whether or not you are going to form a registered entity or act as an unincorporated individual or entity. If your business will be run as a sole proprietorship or a general partnership, you will want to file an assumed name certificate in each county in which your business operates. If you are going to register your entity, your name must include certain words or acronyms in the name, known as organizational identifiers.
Once you’ve settled on a name, you have to find out if this name is distinguishable from other businesses in Texas. The main idea here is that you cannot give your company a name that is the same or deceptively similar to an already-existing business. Because of trademark registrations and other common-law protections, certain names are so established and well-recognized that using them would likely cause confusion between your company and the other one. For example, you would most likely be unable to use “Nike” as the name for your business. The reason for this is that the State does not want consumers to be confused as to what company they are doing business with.
Ultimately, you and your company will be better off using a unique name that allows customers to identify you. The more common your name, the more difficulty you will have getting it registered with the State. Starting a new business is exciting, but take the time to make sure you end up with a good, acceptable name for your company.
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