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Do an online search !!
This is the easiest and quickest way to give you instant results on ditching a name or not. This is the year 2017 and almost every business and brand has some sort of web presence. From social media or a website. Regardless if they have a website or not. Check Google and Bing along with Yellow pages or another citation site. They will list most if not all businesses found in the USA. Check Facebook, Linkin and search hashtags on social media like Instagram and Twitter.
Example: You are sitting at home thinking of what to name your new clothing brand. You have been listening to music and what do you know.You get a bright idea. You think I'm going to name my brand "Rolex clothing". You search google and only see a company selling watches. You think hey they aren't a clothing or t-shirt company.
Bad idea. If you looked at the search results closely you would have noticed the ™ or the ®. Even if you don't see those marks you will have noticed that there is already a www.rolex.com. This will turn out very bad for you. A costly mistake when "Rolex" the watch manufacturer finds out you are selling clothing while infringing on their trademark.
It is very important to do a thorough online search.
Check USPTO !!
Check the United States Patent and Trademark Office. This is the most important check you will need to do but not the only. You are searching to make sure that the name you are considering using is not already registered. If it is you will definitely lose any business or brand you created along with time and money. This can be very costly.
If you are considering naming your business "Joe's seafood shack", 9/10 when "Joe's crab shack" finds out you infringed on their trademark they will take you to court and win. Your business will be shut down and you will have time and money wasted.
Check website URLs !!
As stated before, this is 2017. One of the most important parts of a brand or business is your URL. If you are unfamiliar with the term it is basically your website name or domain name. This is actually the first step I take when creating a business. Domain names are like online property. Your domain name is a valuable part of your business because it is going to help customers locate you online. This will be important for your brand, especially if you are considering selling items or services online.
Why would any smart business man or woman create a brand or company and not own the domain name of their brand or company? Your right they wouldn't. The domain name is also a major part of brand identity and SEO. Basically being found on Google's, Bing's or Yahoo search engine results.
Secure Social Media Names !!
So you have already done your checks from above and your website domain name is free just waiting for you to purchase it. Go back and double check all social media platforms to make sure your name is available.
The first step I would take is claiming all social media platforms with my new company name. At this moment some of the top sites would be Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Linkin, Google+ and any more you can think of.
Secure Your Domain Name !!
Now you own that domain name for at least 1 year. The max they let you purchase a domain name for is 10 years but you will still be given the opportunity to renew every year regardless.
Claim your Business or Brand Name !!
Start using it right away. Getting it trademarked is important but you can wait a little while as long as you using it and it is showing up online. Get some proof that you are using it. Get some business cards printed. Get your website with your domain built. Get a following on those social media sites. Let everyone know about your brand. Use the ™ symbol behind your brand or company name. Never use the ® unless your company is registered with the USPTO.