How to Register a Business Name in West Virginia - Starting a Business in West Virginia. Looking for information on how to register a business name in West Virginia? This video will help entrepreneurs find information on legally registering their business name and is a part of the How to Start a Business in West Virginia video series.
Topics include trademarking a business name, registering a fictitious name / DBA for a sole proprietorship & partnership along with trade name reservations for a corporation or LLC. For more information and links on registering a business name in West Virginia, check out https://startingyourbusiness.com/register-business-name-west-virginia-dba/
While it’s not required, we would recommend first checking to see if there is a trademark protecting the name you want to use. To research names:
- Go to the United States Patent & Trademark Office at uspto.gov.
- When you get to uspto.gov click on Trademarks.
- Click on the Search Trademark Database.
- Next click on Basic Word Mark Search.
- In the Search Term field type in the business name you want to use.
There are a number of listings that will likely come up. If the name you want to use shows up with a live status, this would be a cause for concern because someone has a registered trademark. There may be similar names that incorporate the name you want to use, which could be close enough to keep you from using that name.
If you do a search and your name you want is registered, you may want to consider getting professional help from an attorney or service that specializes in intellectual property and/or trademarks. If you don’t, you may invest a lot of time and money establishing a business name that you may have to abandon.
Once the trademark search is out of the way, the process of registering a business name will vary depending on the type of organization chosen.
For sole proprietorships or partnerships there are two options. One is to operate under the owner’s full first and last name, like John Smith. This type of name does not need to be registered. Most businesses will however want to operate under a trade name like John Smith’s Handyman Service, Mr. Handyman, and so on. The term trade name is sometimes referred to as fictitious business name, doing business as, DBA or assumed name. Applying for this type of name allows your business to legally operate and transact business with a name other than your personal name.
To register a business name for a sole proprietorship or partnership, file a Trade Name Registration with the County Clerk’s office in the county where the business is located.
The fee to file is $25.
To register a name for a corporation or LLC, you must also have a unique name at the time of filing. To check the availability of names, you will also visit the West Virginia Secretary of State’s website. Just like the sole proprietorship and partnership, while nobody else can form a corporation or LLC with your business name in West Virginia, someone else could still legally use your business name.
Regardless of which entity you use to register your business name, registering does little to stop anyone from using your name. To keep others from using it, consider getting a trademark.
If you liked this video, be sure to visit the other videos in our Starting a Business in West Virginia video series. Other videos include:
Types of Business Organization in West Virginia - https://youtu.be/vjZXzdCfwAc
What Business Licenses are Needed in West Virginia – https://youtu.be/vBn7TRCRAIQ
In addition to these videos, https://StartingYourBusiness.com/west-virginia has a lot of free resources to help you start your business. If you have questions, visit our site or ask questions in the comments and our team of business advisors will answer your questions at no cost!
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