When I register a corporate name for my new company, how much protection does that give me as far as anyone else being able to use the name?
Corporate registration is done on the state level in the US. That means that NO ONE ELSE registering a company will be able to use that name in that state. In some states it means that even if a name sounds like the corporate name (but is not the same) it cannot be registered.
However, registering a corporate name is not the same as trademarking it. With a trademark the use of a name is very seriously restricted. A trademark offers a higher level of protection for the name. It is however, a longer and more expensive process than registering a corporation. In addition registering a corporation will offer liability and tax benefits that simply trademarking a name will not.
Is my preferred company name available in the USA?
I have a corporation and one of the companies I want to conduct business with has asked me to supply a “Certificate of Good Standing” for the corporation. What is this and what is its purpose?
A “Certificate of Good Standing” (also called a Certificate of Existence) is a document issued by the Secretary of State of the state where the corporation is formed. It will usually state the name of the corporation, the date of its formation and the fact that it is in good legal standing. It is an official document that confirms the legal status of a corporation (or limited liability company or limited partnership). It offers a level of assurance to interested parties that this is a company that is in compliance.
These Certificates are often required to open/maintain a bank account or to satisfy a customer or supplier that the company is currently valid and operational.
When a company is involved in international commerce, the Certificate of Good Standing may be issued with an Apostille. This means that as a certification it will be recognized internationally by countries which are signatories to the Covenant of the Hague.