What should I do in picking a corporate name?
When you are picking a corporate name, the most important thing to do is to make sure that you have the right to use the name you want. This means you should conduct a trademark search to make sure that someone else is not using the name as a trademark. Similarly, you should search state records (via the secretary of state) of currently registered corporations and businesses, where available, to make sure that nobody else has registered the name for their own business. Once your searches come out clean, you can then go ahead with using the name you have chosen. If you are worried that someone else may try to get a hold of that name before you get all of your corporate paperwork done, most states will allow you to reserve a corporate name by filing a reservation application with the secretary of state.
You should also be aware that most states have certain mandatory requirements for corporate names. For example, you generally have to include the term “incorporated,” “corporation” or some abbreviation of one of these in the corporate name. Also, state law often defines certain words that cannot be in your corporate name, such as “bank,” “trust,” or “federal.”