What’s In a Name? Naming a Baby or a Company … There is Much to Consider
When I was a kid, I met a jovial gentleman whose parents legally named him “Fat Boy”. When I giggled and told him I did not believe him, the gent proudly produced his drivers license and that indeed was his name. He explained he was born a big baby and that is what they named him. Fortunately, the man reveled in his name as it did give him some notoriety. He was aptly named and was a large and powerful fellow. Thus, I doubt that there were many who had the courage to tease him growing up. Other children are not so lucky.
We are all familiar with celebrities who are willing to lasso their kids with names that will cause a lifetime of problems in exchange for having news about them trend on twitter for a few days. Naming a child is a very personal decision and the government should not and does not have many legal prohibitions in this process. But there are some laws on the subject out there that vary from state to state. For example, I remember when a software engineer insisted on adding the suffix “2.0” to the end of the name of his son who bore his name instead of “Jr.”. Many states do not allow the use of symbols or numerals in names except for Roman numerals used as a suffix to a name. Of course, beyond the legal considerations, parents should think in depth about how a child’s name will impact them over the years.
Like naming a baby, there are several key considerations when naming a company. Most of these considerations concern marketing. Can people spell it? Does it have a pleasant ring to it? Is it memorable? Will it look good on a logo? Does it convey something to the customer about the business in which the company is engaged?
From a legal perspective, there are many other considerations when naming a company. First and foremost, one should determine if the name is actively used by another company. If so, one cannot use the name. However, for common names there are many companies that can use part of the name as long as the full name of the company is different than another. Hence there are many companies that include common names like “Georgia”, “Piedmont” or “Southern” in their full legal name. However, proprietary names that are legally protected cannot be used at all. Different states have different laws on the subject. In order to protect the public, the inclusion of certain names like “insurance agency” may only be included in a company name if the owner of the company has the correct credentials and licensing to engage in such activities. Many states limit the number of characters that can be used in a company name and others forbid the use of foul language in a company name. Those forming a new company would be wise to consult with a lawyer to make sure they can obtain the name they want prior to spending money on logos, web domains and other areas of marketing.
Any adult can file a petition to change their name in court. In some cases, their parents gave them names they cannot stand. In other cases, naturalized US citizens have a name in a non-English language that is vulgar in English. Yet in others this is done due to divorce. Companies can change their name as well. Some often do when the scope and geographic reach of their business has changed over the years. Others do so to become more competitive in a changing market. People have great freedom to choose personal and company names. But as with any choice, one should choose wisely. When you need help with legal matters, call the one you can trust. Contact Chris today … click here.