Business names and product names have much in common, however when it comes to trademarks there are some differences. First and most importantly, product names can always be trademarked if the name does not infringe another name.
For more information on how similar a name can be: Likelihood of Confusion.
Business names can be trademarked if the business provides a service, such as marketing, legal, accounting, etc. Business names, such as Ford Motor Company, Apple Computer, Advanced Micro Devices may be trademarked, but only if there are goods or services with that name.
The U.S. Trademark Office is very sticky about the difference between business names and product names. They have specific rules. It is a good idea to consult a book such as, Trademark: How to Name your Business & Product by Kate McGrath.
The following business directories are a good place to check for names that are already in use, thereby avoiding infringement.
- Local county clerk's office for DBA (doing business as) filings.
- Texas Secretary of State
- Incorporation Office for companies incorporated in Texas.
- Partnership Office, for limited partnerships filed in Texas.
- Texas Trademark Clerk's Office - Secretary of State
- United States Patent and Trademark Office online Trademark database
Note: The Engineering Library staff will be glad to provide more information on searching the Trademark database. We can not, however, provide the following services:
- we can not do the search for you
- we can not provide legal help or advise
- we can not help you with the application process