Secretary of State Registration | Business Name Registration

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Name confusion

When registering your business with the Sec. of State does the business name have to appear exactly as its registered? For example, if my business will use my initial and last name such as T.Smith, LLC and it is registered as such, would I get in trouble if my logo uses t.smith or t.Smith or TSmith or tSmith...or are these all considered different business names?
  • A business name is different than a trademark. You can register your LLC name and then have a variety of different brands/trademarks under which you sell your goods or services. More info can be found here: http://saperlaw.com/blog/2009/08/02/view-video-from-the-july-seminar-at-saper-law-on-trademarks-and-copyrights/
  • This depends on the assumed name rules which would be particular to NY and even tho you caught me sitiing at LaG airport I confess that being an Illinois lawyer I do not know the answer under NY law. If you are talking about getting s trademark, you do not have to use the registered name exactly.
    Marc Blumenthal

    Sent from my iPhone
  • If you or your attorney have concerns, you could look at filing a "DBA" (doing business as). The variations on the name you give look minimal to me, but it is prudent to look carefully at this issue. Good luck!
  • As a general rule, I would file the way you're going to present it, and I would keep it consistent. This is important not only from a legal standpoint, but also a branding standpoint (i.e. tradmarks, etc). While small changes such as capitalization don't usually trigger any legal issues, it's best to be consistent. That said, some systems don't allow you to file your entity with punctuation, so you wouldn't have a choice but to file without and present it with the punctuation.
  • As the previous response stated, your business name does not necessarily need to match your trademarks. Use the full legal business name (with the LLC, or Inc., or PC, or LLP, etc.) anywhere such use has legal significance. Examples: (1) in any contract; (2) your website's Terms of Service or Privacy Policy; (3) in copyright notices (including on your website). For longer documents, abbreviate once, as follows: Test Company, Inc. ("TCI"). Then you can call it TCI in the rest of the document.
  • Thanks for the responses! I accidently hit "NY" when I posted this question, I meant to click "CA" (I'm in California). I need to send in my chosen name along with $10 and in about 4-6 weeks they get back to me saying yes, its reservable or no, its taken. According to the online searches that I've conducted so far the name I want, including any subtle variation of it, is available. I just don't know how spaces, periods and cases factor into play.

    -Name Confusion
  • Don't confuse corporate names and brand names. One's brand name need not mirror one's corporate name (although it can). Also, if you're transacting business under your corporate name, but alter it slightly, you can apply for a DBA. Hope this helps.
  • Everyone is correct in stating the difference between brand and corporate name. Just one thing to add: you will need to write your name exactly as it is registered whenever you sign a contract or any other legal document (i.e. Terms of Service on your website). That is your legal name - exactly as it is spelled. However, brands are a totally different issue.
  • Everyone is correct in stating the difference between brand and corporate name. Just one thing to add: you will need to write your name exactly as it is registered whenever you sign a contract or any other legal document (i.e. Terms of Service on your website). That is your legal name - exactly as it is spelled. However, brands are a totally different issue.
  • It looks like you have gotten some good advice through previous replies. FizzLaw really is an amazing resource. If you have any additional questions about this or any other issue I practice business law in the Bay Area and would be happy to have an initial chat with you at no cost. Feel free to contact me anytime at doug@bendlawoffice.com or (415) 633-6841. Thanks and good luck!

    -Doug
  • I note that you are asking about a business in New York. As I am not licensed there I cannot give any specific legal opinion, but here are some general guidelines to follow. You will want to consult with an attorney in New York regarding the specifics as it applies to your case.

    The whole purpose of incorporating is to get a specific name by which your company will be know, and to transact and hold yourself out using that name. The brand, logo, and registration are all linked and are one. This is done, among other reasons, to ensure that there is no brand confusion with other companies. In this case, your logo, letterhead, and state registration name should all match to ensure that you are holding yourself out properly with clients and to avoid any confusion of the company, or its status as a corporation. Capitalizations for the most part do not probably matter, but if the corporation is an LLC, you should identify it as such in all communications and representations as you move into the marketplace. Good luck, and keep the logo and registration consistent.
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