One of the first things a start up must consider is brand identity.  How will I identify my company to the public.  When you consider a new brand name, you should check to make sure someone is not using it for the same or related goods/services.  A trademark search is a good way to start.  If you are just concerned with United States trademark rights, and you don’t plan conducting any international commerce, you can visit the US Patent and Trademark Office Website to conduct a search of registered marks.

Even if a mark is not registered, a trademark owner can have common law trademark rights.  An appropriate search should also be conducted for unregistered / common law trademarks.