How to choose a proper business name?

Deciding on the appropriate name for a particular business can indeed be a very complex and challenging task for any entrepreneur. The choice of business names which are selected must be cross-referenced against the availability of a domain in the web space, registration of trademark and Ministry of Corporate Affairs to ensure that there is no business operating with an identical or similar name.

The essential practices for choosing a perfect name for the business

Choice of a Business Name

The very first step in selecting a business name involves brainstorming and creating a list of the potential names for the proposed business that is to be started.

Also, it is better to avoid a generic or common name such as Hindustan, Delhi, Global, etc. as the chances of a company already being in existence with a same or similar name are exponentially high.

The name of a particular business can be divided into three main categories which are discussed below.

Common Names

Common names for a particular business are those names which are usually based on common words or nouns. For example, Apple Technology Private Limited or Dhir Textiles Private Ltd. uses common words as their names.

With over a lakh companies being registered every year in India, it is tough to receive approval from MCA for a particular business that utilises a common word, as the chances of the existence of another company with a similar or identical name are quite high.

It is also tough for the companies with common names or initials of promoters to stand out from the competition and rank higher on search engines.

Therefore, it is generally not recommended that the promoters use common names for a particular business unless there is a strong reason for adopting so.

Descriptive Names

Another critical strategy to name a business would be to have a self-descriptive name for that particular company which also includes the keywords related to the firm in the name itself. For instance, sites which convey the nature of the business to the audience would facilitate the business better and rank higher on search engines.

Unique Names

The choice of a unique or invented name for your business has significant advantages regarding aspects like branding, brand recall and trademark registration.

The major changes of finding a great domain for a business with an invented name is a lot easier than finding a name for a company with a common name.

Often, unique or made up names are quirky and many times memorable. Finally, since the name is unique and invented; the promoters may get the chance of obtaining a trademark registration for the business name. Flipkart is a great example of a unique or invented name.

Checking of the proposed company name’s availability with MCA

In order to check if the chosen name for your business is available with the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA), one can visit MCA21: Check Company or LLP Name.

In the search tool option, you are required to enter the name of the business that you would like to have in the name field and also the object clause of the company name in the activity field.

Once the same is submitted, the website would return the list of the businesses in existence with the identical name, if any of these exists.

Even though the tool efficiently verifies the name provided against any identical names in the company’s database. It is to be noted that the MCA rules state that the proposed name for a particular company cannot be identical or similar to an existing company or LLP name.

Therefore, even if the search tool does not return an identical name, the MCA Officer who has approved the application for the name reservation reserves the final decision on whether the proposed name is similar to that of an existing company.

Checking the proposed company name against Trademark Database

With the adoption of the Companies Act, 2013, the proposed company or LLP names are presently being cross-checked against the trademark database to adequately ensure no trademark infringement occurs.

To check whether your company’s proposed name is in conflict with the trademark database; it is suggested to visit the Trademark Public Database.

In the trademark search tool, you will be required to enter the proposed name of the business without the object clause and then select the appropriate trademark class. The search tool would then return the list of the trademarks in existence that are identical to the proposed searched term.

Again, all the MCA rules state that the proposed name for a particular company cannot be identical or even similar to an existing trademark. Therefore, even if the search tool does not return an identical trademark, the MCA Officer approving the application for name reservation has the final say on whether the proposed name is similar to that of an existing trademark.

Let the MCA Decide

Entrepreneurs, who find a similar name that of their proposed business name in the trademark or MCA database, are usually confused about making a decision to apply still with the MCA for name reservation.

However, Being an Entrepreneur or the Company Incorporation Advisor you cannot be really sure whether a name is similar to that of an existing company name. Therefore, it is wise to apply for the name with the MCA along with few other options. If the MCA decides the name is not in conflict with that of an existing company name or trademark, the same will soon be granted.

Moreover, it is to be borne in mind that is indeed best for startups to stay away from legal or trademark infringement suits. Therefore, it is always suggested by the experts to choose a business name which is absolutely unique and stands out.

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