Trade Name Availability Rules
01. Written Comparison of Names. A comparison of names to determine similarity is made by writing the names to be compared, using upper case letters of the English Alphabet and acceptable numerals and acceptable symbols.
02. Characters of print acceptable in names. Names may consist of letters of the English Alphabet, Arabic Numerals and certain symbols capable of being reproduced on a standard English language typewriter, or combination thereof.
a. Letters of the English Alphabet includes only upper case, or capital letters; no distinction as to type face of font is recognized.
b. Arabic Numerals includes 0,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8, and 9.
c. The symbols recognized as part of a name may include ! " $ % * @ ? , and -. A space or spaces after words, letters, numerals or symbols may be considered as part of the name.
d. Translations of validly registered names are not acceptable (e.g., Chez
Maison, Inc. would preclude registration of My House, Inc. and the other way
around - vise versa).
03. False implication of Government Affiliation:
The trade name may not be one that might falsely imply governmental affiliation
(e.g., State of Vermont Agency of Electricians).
04. Grossly Offensive Name. The name may not be one
that is deemed to be so grossly offensive as to be unacceptable as a trade
a. Names that may legitimately be understood to have a meaning that is not
grossly offensive, despite contextual double entendre, are acceptable (e.g.,
The Bitch Pound).
05. "Words of Incorporation" are not acceptable parts
of a trade name. They include Company, Corporation, Incorporated, Limited,
Limited Partnership, Limited Liability Company, and their acceptable abbreviations.
The acceptable abbreviations are respectively: Co., Corp., Inc., Ltd., L.P.,
and L.L.C.. The acceptable "words of incorporation" for a professional corporation
are Professional Association, Professional Corporation, and the abbreviation
P.A., and P.C.
06. Articles: A proposed trade name is deemed to be "deceptively
similar" to an existing registration if the presence or absence of articles
of speech (a, an, or the) comprise the difference. Thus, names otherwise identical
except for the presence of "a", "an", or "the" are considered to be deceptively
similar (e.g., The Company Store, Company Store)
07. Endings and Suffixes. A proposed trade name is
deemed to be "deceptively similar" to an existing registration if the proposed
trade name is identical except that one or more words has a different ending,
prefix or suffix.
08. Conjunctions: A proposed trade name is deemed
to be "deceptively similar" to an existing registration if a word, space or
symbol used to join the clauses, phrases, or words (and, or, as, but, because,
however, +, ?, -. &) comprises the difference (e.g., AP Supermarket, A & P
Supermarket, and A/P Supermarket).
09. Word spacing or combining: A proposed trade name
is deemed to be "deceptively similar" to an existing registration if the addition
or subtraction of spaces (" ") is the difference (e.g., Twin State Motors,
10. Presence or Absence of Letters, Numbers, or Symbols:
A proposed trade name is deemed to be "deceptively similar" to an existing
registration if the difference consists of the presence or absence of letters,
numbers, or symbols which do not sufficiently alter the name so as to be readily
a. Different spellings of proper names that sound the same or almost the
same are considered deceptively similar (Schmidt Tackle Shop, Shmit Tackle
b. The addition of a world-wide web suffix does not distinguish a proposed
trade name from an existing registration nor does it make a generic word sufficiently
unique (e.g., whitehouse.com, whitehouse.org, whitehouse.net).
11. Plurals and Possessives: A proposed trade name
is deemed to be "deceptively similar" to an existing registration if the plural
or possessive forms of a word or name is the difference (Chief Auto Body, Chieves
Auto Body, Chief's Auto Body).
12. Unique or Improper Spelling: A proposed trade
name is deemed to be "deceptively similar" to an existing registration if the
unique, archaic, or improper spelling of a word or words makes up the difference
(B-4 the Fall, Before the Fall).
13. Numbers: A number printed or spelled is treated
as identical (2 Guys Painting, Two Guys Painting).
14. Synonyms: A proposed trade name is deemed to be "deceptively
similar" to an existing registration if words that have the same meaning, when
used to describe the purpose of the entity, are synonymous (e.g., Anderson
Realty, Anderson Real Estate).
a. The written version of a symbol is considered to be the same as the symbol
itself (e.g., The Young Esquires ?, The Young Esquires Question).
15. Abbreviations: Abbreviations are considered to
be the same as the root word. Use of an abbreviation does not significantly
alter a name so as to make it distinct (e.g., The Wizard of Oz. Measuring Cup,
The Wizard of Ounces Measuring Cup).
16. Explanation: The Office of Secretary of State shall provide a reasonable explanation to denied applicants, citing one of the aforementioned rules or any proper rule that comes hereafter. The explanation shall include the name of the existing name registration to which the proposed name is too deceptively similar.