5 easy steps to select and protect your company name

A compelling component of your business idea is the name you put to it. Choosing the name of your business is a crucial step as it’s going to be the cornerstone of your brand.

It get customer’s first impression when you pitch for a business deal or sell them a product. Make sure the name that you choose is understandable, easy to say, spell and hear.

Here are 5 easy steps to select and protect your company name for registration.

Compile a list of keywords

Industry or business related keywords can be a great thing to get started. You can do a internet search to get words, select your favorites and study how they are formed.

After having a list of keywords, you can play with it to find perfect words that match to your  business and reputation.

We have seen promoters using words like technology, infosolutions and engineering in their name. While it’s a good idea to let your customer know what kind of business your company does, but, we suggest you to coin your words in such a way that it will sound great to your customer.

As per companies act 2013, your company name not necessarily should indicate your nature of business.

However, in case of certain category of business such as NBFC, companies carrying financial activities, the name should be such that, it will indicate the nature of business.

Search company and trademark database

After getting bunch of words from your keywords log, you need to search company and trademark database to know if that word or expression is already registered.

Company database will show you list of companies already registered with the government. While searching, we suggest you to try to know if any similar name exist to the words as government will not allow if another company similar to yours is already exist.

If you didn’t get anything similar or exact matching words, then search for it in trademark database.

If you are neither getting the name or similar to that in company and trademark database, then you can apply to the government for approval.

Apply for trademark registration

Trademark registration is optional. This means you can do business without taking a trademark registration.

However, registering the name as trademark can help protect your rights if some other person wants to use it or similar to it.

You can apply for trademark for a word, symbol or any combination which is used or intended to be used to identify and distinguish the goods of one company from those of others.

We advice you to register the word or name representing the brand, if your plan is to expand the business across the country or globally. The most important thing of registering your trademark is to select the right class to best fit your nature of products or business.

Reserve your company name

With the TM application copy or registration certificate, you can apply to reserve your desired company name.

However, Companies act 2013 does not allow certain type of words and expressions to be included in your company name. You need to make sure that such words and expressions are not used. Before applying, we would like you to go through the list of words and expressions which are prohibited.

We have also seen cases where companies are registered with a similar name for which their exist a trademark registration. We suggest you to do a thorough investigation to avoid such type of cases as there are chances of getting legal notices in violation of using exact or similar words for which trademark already exists. You can do a internet search in addition to trademark database search.

We advise you to avoid exact or similar names on which you are certain that it violates trademark. If it violates, then it can cost you time, money and customers.

Please note, you can always change your company name at any point of time. We advise you to use this option only when it’s the last resort to do as frequent changes will give a bad impression about your business.

Don’t forget to Book your domain

For the keyword in your company name, you can choose a domain with popular extension like COM, NET, ORG, INFO and IN. If you are not lucky enough to get the exact word with above said extensions, then you can go with a tweaked domain.

Please note, exact company name, website address along with other details are to be specified in all invoice, business letters and other company communications.

As a owner of trademark, you can apply to the registrar if a company name is identical with or too nearly resembles to your existing trademark. You can apply within 3 years from company’s date of incorporation or change in its name.

Based on your application, if registrar finds that the name is identical or too nearly resembles to a existing company, then government may direct to change it. The company after receiving such notice, shall change it within a period of 60 days after adopting an ordinarily resolution for this purpose.

is a fellow member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India. He lives in Bhubaneswar, India. He writes about personal finance, income tax, goods and services tax (GST), company law and other topics on finance. Follow him on facebook or instagram or twitter.