When entrepreneurs, technology startups and other businesses take first steps to launch a business, questions arise as to how to best protect a corporation name, and a brand name, or a trademark, during the company formation process and various other startup tasks, such as selecting a trademark and logo.
Corporations or companies, including limited liability companies, are typically organized at the state level and governed by corporation laws in various states such as California, New York, Texas, Wyoming, Nevada, and almost all other states in the USA. When forming a corporation or limited liability company in California or elsewhere in the United States, the question of company name arises, and entrepreneurs and tech startup founders ask themselves whether the company name should be the same as the brand name, or trademark.
This is an important consideration during the corporation name selection and trademark protection process for a startup technology company, or other commercial businesses. For example, McDonald’s Corp., a public company on the New York Stock Exchange, owns the brand BIG MAC®, a registered trademark. But there is no Big Mac, Inc.
A brand name, or trademark, is protected under different laws than corporations and limited liability companies, namely Title 15 of the United States Code, also called the Lanham Act. While many states have trademark laws on the books, trademark protection is generally applied at the federal level, particularly when products or services are provided across state lines, or when a company files a Federal Trademark Application in the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).
When considering naming a company or selecting a trademark, logo, or slogan for federal trademark protection, standard due diligence in the area of likelihood of confusion is probably the first question that will arise, as well as the general branding theme questions, and the type of corporate structuring the company may adopt. Consultation with an expert trademark and technology startup attorney can consult entrepreneurs, tech startups, and other small business consider on the options for corporate naming, and trademark selection and adoption process, and execute filings in the Secretary of States’ offices, and the United States Patent and Trademark Office to protect their entity and assets in the business.