How to Pick Globally Unique Company Name?


When starting a new company we try to pick a name that is unique.

However, now that business is global it's nearly impossible to pick a name that is not in use somewhere.

I was wondering:

  • What happens when you want to operate in a country where your company name is taken and/or trademarked?
  • How do companies like Oracle and Microsoft ensure that they are able to use their name in every country?


Trademark Name

asked Nov 8 '13 at 16:30
Alfa Zulu
116 points
  • Register the .com domain and you are pretty much okay. A quick Google search can help too. Microsoft, etc have armies of lawyers so if you mess with them they will crush you. – Steve Jones 6 years ago

3 Answers


Couple of years ago, I heard stories about Google trying to "inhabit" which is ext. for Persian-speaking users. They sued then-holders, the case went hot on the press and even the local government got involved. Although Google won the case, based on political reasons, Iranian government refused to let them control the domain.

My point is that it is very complicated for giants to pursue their rights in different countries. Thats why they choose to have a .com domain and focus advertisement on that domain.

A common strategy :
When companies enter a new country, they force their shipment partners to advertise their brand, so when a Brazilian teenager receives her new computer, she reads the big text on the truck : "WWW.COMPANY.COM"

Usually companies make a large initiation when they enter a new country, I remember McDonald entering Brazil was a huge show off, this way they make sure that everyone follows the right brand to the right company.

answered Nov 14 '13 at 03:45
31 points


Every country has different laws about that situation (large multinational company starts doing business when it's name is already taken locally).

Also, it doesn't help if you choose a unique name unless you register a company in every country is the world - and even that doesn't guaranty everything because countries do split up on regular basis.

The usual solutions for the problem of moving into a country where your name is already taken are:

  1. Buy the name/trademark from the local holder.
  2. Sue the local holder (especially effective if the multinational has the lawyers and the resources to bankrupt the local holder with legal expenses even if he/she wins).
  3. Do businesses locally under a different name (this was a popular option in the past, not so much in today's global economy).
  4. Not doing business in that location (especially in smaller countries the large multinational may decide it just isn't worth the trouble).
answered Nov 17 '13 at 20:15
1,569 points


The simplest way is to check with google in every country that the name is not used by someone.

A brand name is not something you can/should change later (unlike logo) especially for a website. If your business is going to be big enough you really really should hire a brand naming company, such as Igor.

Protip: don't ever pick up a descriptive/functional name

answered Nov 14 '13 at 04:23
154 points
  • I'm curious why you say not to use a descriptive name. Wikipedia has an article that (very briefly) mentions descriptive business names and none of the examples they list (Toys R Us, General Motors) are bad names. Is this a different definition, or is there some sort of pitfall associated with this or something? 6 years ago
  • These ARE bad names, but successful companies. Descriptive names are bad because 90% of the competition use them, and they are boring. They should be used only in technical domains when it is needed by professionals to know what the company/product do. 6 years ago

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