Brand News: Why is a Secretary of State Filing Not Enough?

A recent post mentioned that your brand could have troubles if you thought organizing your company with the Secretary of State gave you permission to use your company name as a brand. Today I will unpack that.

Brand Protection primarily concerns whether or not brands used by different companies would cause confusion among consumers. This is a detailed analysis and Secretaries of State cannot perform this review for every company in their state.

Most Secretaries of State in the US don’t allow multiple companies to be organized under the same name. They are not worried about consumer confusion, they are only worried about being able to identify and contact the companies in their state. This means filing as a business entity with a Secretary of State does not provide rights to use a name as a brand for a variety of reasons, including:

1) Each state has its own Secretary of State;

2) Not every company does business under its legal name;

3) The Secretary of State does not look at the types of business each company performs; and

4) Many brands that are used are not the name of the company.

I’ll explain each of these reasons in upcoming posts. Meanwhile, feel free to ask questions in the comments below.