Trademark rights and business name rights are related but not identical. Registration of a business entity name is completed by a Secretary of State’s office, which performs a limited check to make sure there is not an essentially identical business entity already in existence. The company’s name and the company’s main mark may share their essential features – for example, our company name “TM TKO, LLC” differs from our TM TKO® mark only slightly.
A business name may not necessarily generate trademark rights if the name is not used in a public-facing capacity. For instance, a restaurant franchisee may have an unassuming company name that is used mainly for contracts, like “4th & Main Restaurant Co., Inc.”, but interact with the consuming public exclusively under the mark McDonald’s®.