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What are the rules and restrictions for naming my business?

You'll have to conduct a name and trademark search to make sure no one else is using the name you want to use (or a very similar name) to market similar products or services. You should also check with your county clerk's office to see whether your proposed name is already on the list of fictitious or assumed business names in your county. If you find that your chosen name (or a very similar one) is registered as a trademark, or is listed on a fictitious or assumed name register, you shouldn't use it.

If you're organizing your business as a corporation, LLC, or limited partnership, you must also make sure your business name isn't the same as that of an existing corporation, LLC, or limited partnership in your state. If a name that is identical or very similar to your proposed business name turns up in your state's database, you'll have to choose another.

A trademark (sometimes called simply a "mark") is any word, phrase, design, or symbol used to market a product or service. Technically, a mark used to market a service, rather than a product, is called a service mark, though the term "trademark" is commonly used for both types of marks because they refer to the same group of legal protections. Owners of trademarks have rights under both federal and state law that give them the power in many cases to prevent others from using the same or confusingly similar trademarks.

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