Because business names are registered on a state-by-state basis, the fact that a company in another state has the same name as yours is usually not a cause for concern. However, you are right in that there could be intellectual property issues (namely, trademark) when two companies have the same name.
Correspondingly, can I use a business name if it is inactive?
If the abandoned name was ever registered with the state, it will be listed in the state's entity database. The company that used the abandoned name might typically be listed as inactive or dissolved. If the company is listed as inactive, the state may not allow you to assume the name.
How do I protect my business name and logo?
- To register a trademark, go to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office's Web site, www.uspto.gov.
- Make sure someone else hasn't already registered the mark your category by checking the Trademark Electronic Search System database .