When companies search for an available name, do they look beyond their own state?

A Florida restaurant going by the name of Toast learned that the company would be just that if it did not stop using the restaurant name. The owners were served a cease-and-desist letter by a restaurant called Toast of Chicago, which has a federal trademark on the name. After being accused of poaching the name, the Florida restaurant owners decided to rebrand their breakfast and lunch restaurants as Poached.

This situation is not uncommon. Trademarks are governed by federal law. As such, businesses need to check for name availability not just within their state(s) of operation, but on a national level as well. Because trademark infringement focuses on the likelihood of confusion, businesses also have an interest in making sure that some interloper is not trying to piggyback on their name or brand.

This situation illustrates that checking name availability and securing a trademark before building a brand around a name is worth the extra effort and expense.