What is the difference between company name, business name, domain name and brand or trademark?

What are different types of company, domain, business or brand names? Let’s get the names straight to avoid confusion.

  • Company name: Legal name of the company, either registered federally or in a certain state (or province in Canada).

Example: Microsoft Corporation
Note: one company may own more than one brand and may do business under more than one name

  • Business name or doing business as: Name under which you conduct your business.

Example: Microsoft

Example: Skype

  • Domain name: Name of your address on the Web.

Example: www.microsoft.com

Example: www.skype.com (Microsoft owns Skype)

  • Trademark: A trademark may be one word, a combination of words, or logos (or even sounds and smells!) used to distinguish/differentiate your products or services from those of other entities.

Example: MICROSOFT, , or a combined mark:

Example: SKYPE,

Let’s take another example of a giant retailer Kraft Foods.

Company name: Kraft Foods Inc.

12 of Kraft Foods brands are sold worldwide: Cadbury, Jacobs, Kraft, Maxwell House,  Milka, Nabisco, Oreo, Oscar Mayer, Philadelphia, Trident and Tang.

For each brand Kraft Foods has a website: cadbury.co.uk; cadbury.com.au; oreo.com; oscarmayer.com, etc.

Not everyone knows that these 12 famous brands are owned by the same giant! It doesn’t really matter, what matters is that everyone knows where do buy their favorite Cadbury chocolate or Oreo cookies and everyone knows how the Oreo cookies package looks like!

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