I then did the web search and found that there are two instances of this business name appearing on the web! Oops.
One includes "Inc." at the end and is in my home state, but appears to be a dead corporation! Excellent news! The listing I found says:
XXXXXXXX XXXXXXXX Services Inc. was a corporation registered in the state of California. It was a domestic corporation, meaning it was formed, as well as registered, in California. Its articles of incorporation were filed on October 22, 2004. All of XXXXXXXX XXXXXXXX Services Inc.'s powers, rights and privileges in the State of California have been suspended. This could have happened because they failed to file a return and/or pay taxes to the California Franchise Tax Board, or because they failed to make certain informational filings with the California Secretary of State. The specific reason for this suspension can be found by ordering a status report from the Secretary of State.
So I guess I don't need to worry about them.
The other instance is a long-established (15 years) company in Louisville, Kentucky but what's strange is that they are using the name as what appears to be a sort of parenthetical "secondary DBA", sort of an "also known as" type name. I'm guessing that possibly it was their original name from many years ago and they changed it, but are still keeping the old name around in parentheses for the people who are looking for them under it. Like the business above, it does not have a web presence and obviously doesn't want one at all.
By contrast, my business will be based on the web and have a HEAVY web presence. I guess what I'm wondering is, what are the possible ramifications here regarding the KY business. There were obviously already the two businesses in different states using the same name (one with "Inc" and one without) and no apparent conflict between them, but I suspect that there were no conflicts mainly because neither of them desired web exposure.
Do you recommend I register my name with a service mark? Do some of you do this? I'd say the lines are getting increasingly blurred between protecting a business name/identity on a patch of geographical ground (say, an area or region of your state) versus protecting it on the internet.
Thanks for any thoughts.