Hi , I would like to gets some advices about the naming of my business if you don't mind.
My name is Ornella Chevalier, I come from France and I am planning to work with american customers as a content marketing strategist in b2b as a freelancer.
I am currently building my website accordingly.
Couple of months ago, I have registered an LLC ( Essiam LLC) in Wyoming with a physical US mail address and virtual office, in the inted of initially starting an e-commerce business on the US market.
Unfortunately, the IRS took for ever to issue my EIN number due to the covid-19 crisis and I finally change my mind.
Now that I am about to build my freelancing activity instead, I am a bit confused regarding the domain name I should opt for.
At first, I wanted to name my new website essiam.com as this name is already legally registered, but few people told me that as a freelance writer, it would make it harder for prospects to find me if my name isn't written on the domain. So for more consistency, I should instead choose between ornella-chevalier.com or maybe ornella-Essiam.com (Do not hesitate to tell me which one sounds the mostappropriate, is always good to get a new view point).
Anyway, my question is, as non american resident-alien with an american physical business already, do I have to registered for a new LLC if I decided to use my personnel name to create a website ? If I am instead choosing to use ornella-Essiam.com, as their is " Essiam" within this new domain name, would it be ok to use it without having to register with a new llc as well?
Or last option, would I be able to link either of this domains to my actual Essiam LLC and how much would it cost me?
A you can see, it is a bit unclear for me and I would really appreciate any insight you have, to help me with this matters.
I am looking forward to hearing from you,
1 Answer from Attorneys
If you seek to do business under a name that is different from the LLC you can either amend the filing to change the name or you can file a DBA/FBN (doing business as / fictitious business name) with the state or in some places in each county where the business has a physical presence.
You also have to address the trademark implications. If you are trying to build a brand (not just using your own personal name) then this should be cleared and presumably filed with the USPTO for a federal trademark registration. I will offer more on that below.
It is of course best practice to clear it before you start using any trademark and starting with a strong one is your best strategy. Know as well that merely registering your business name with a state or county agency or acquiring a domain does not convey any right to use that name in commerce as a source identifier or trademark. For example, I can presumably register my new tech start up "Boogle" with the WY secretary of state because there is no other business already doing business there under that name, but this does not mean that I would not be infringing on the Google trademark, which I would be. The onus is on you to ensure the name you choose is not a problem.
Your trademark will be one of if not the most important and valuable business assets you will have and you will ultimately spend more money in support if it than you will anywhere else (advertising, marketing, PR, branding, packaging, etc.).
Whenever you endeavor into investing in a trademark it is very important that you conduct the proper clearance due diligence. In the US, this means searching under both federal (USPTO) as well as common law because trademark rights stem from use in this country NOT registration. This means that acquiring a federal registration does not necessarily mean that you are not infringing on another's intellectual property.
I suggest that you consult with a lawyer in private and discuss your objectives in more detail. You can start by calling around to several for a free phone consultation, get some insights then pick the best fit to work with.
If you would like to discuss further over a free phone consult, feel free to contact me anytime that is convenient.
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