If another company has already trademarked the name, using the same name as that company is a violation of trademark law, and the violator can incur a fine and have to choose another name for the company, notes NOLO. However, if the name is not trademarked and the other company with the name is not in the same state, then the business owner may be able to use the same name, notes Entrepreneur.
In order to find out whether the company's name is trademarked or if there's already a company with the desired name in the state, run searches on company name and trademark databases, suggests FindLaw. A state's or city's fictitious name database can bring up companies with the same or similar name, and states also have databases that show names of corporations and partnerships. Network Solutions and The Thomas Register are two sites where people can look for unregistered business names.