When naming a business, is itOK to use common phrases?

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When naming a business, is itOK to use common phrases?

I am starting a mobile games company and I want to name it Zombie Games LLC. I’ve done a name search and I went to the US trademark website and didn’t find anything but my worry is that maybe it’s too general. Are there rules against simple names like this? Am I putting myself in danger by using it?

Asked on October 1, 2011 under Business Law, New York

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You can have any name which itself does not violate anyone's trademark or is not currently registered as a business name in your state. (Note: you need to check this--whether there is a registered business in your state using this name--separately from checking for trademark infringement; the two things are not the same.)

The issue is whether you can trademark or protect the name "Zombie Games." You should discuss the matter with an intellectual property attorney, to see how strong the name is for your proposed use. If you are planning to sell games about zombies or the zombie apocalypse, it would probably be a weak name for trademark purposes, since it would be considered a descriptive name (it describes what you would do).


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