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How To Name Your Baby

A great name is one of the most important things that you can give your child.  The same goes for a new company or invention or product, which is, after all, your baby.

When picking a name, it is essential to keep consistency in mind.  You want one name that is used throughout all mediums.  Having different names may confuse customers, and ultimately, inhibit sales, marketing efforts, and brand awareness.  A consistent name also helps avoid any potential legal claims.  

Keep in mind that the name of your company, and the name of the products or services that you sell through the company, are not the same thing.  Remember that if your product line expands, you're going to have multiple products with different names, so pick a company name that is not the same as the name of one product or service.  Also remember that the name of your company is not necessarily the heart of your brand identity.  Your corporate name is important for dealing with the formalities of running a business, but it does not have to be the name that is marketed to the world.  Take the time to consider how it will be used and where it will be used.

In the past, name consistency involved simply checking name availability with the Department of State, registering that name, and then making sure that all corporate materials used the same name.

The technological revolution has added a few steps.  In today's digital world, you need to make sure that name consistency extends online.  Before selecting a name, here are a few suggestions to ensure consistency in the digital age:
•    Check the State Database: You still have to go old school by making sure the name is available to be registered with your respective state.
    Check for Trademarks: To avoid trademark infringement, search the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office's database to determine if your potential name is used in any registered trademarks.  
•    Google It:  Use Google, Bing or some other search engine to see what comes up when someone searches for your potential name.  Your potential name may not legally belong to someone else, but it may be used in an inappropriate fashion or in some other manner that might damage your brand value.  
•    Check the Domain Name:  Use a database such as GoDaddy or Network Solutions to determine if your potential name is available as a website domain name.  Check variations of the potential name and words that could be combined with your potential name.
•    Check Social Media Sites:  If you are going to be active on social media, make sure that your potential name is available on the sites you plan to use.  Even if you don't plan to have any social media accounts, it is still helpful to search various social media sites to see if any other businesses are using your potential name or a variation of it.

No matter what you do, make sure you maintain good records documenting when you first start using a name and how it may evolve over time.  If you need assistance with any of these steps, your new venture or your new product, contact a member of our Emerging Technologies Practice Group.