How do I Know if My LLC Name Already Exists?

By Marie Murdock

Most states will require that no limited liability company, or LLC, have the same name as any other limited liability company. If you are preparing to form an LLC and have decided on a name you wish to use, you may not want to order your letterhead just yet. You will need to check with your secretary of state for any existing LLC that may have the same name as the one you have chosen.

Most states will require that no limited liability company, or LLC, have the same name as any other limited liability company. If you are preparing to form an LLC and have decided on a name you wish to use, you may not want to order your letterhead just yet. You will need to check with your secretary of state for any existing LLC that may have the same name as the one you have chosen.

Step 1

Go to the website of the secretary of state or other equivalent office, which handles the formation of LLCs in the state where you will organize your LLC. Many states will have a search feature on their websites that allows you to perform an online search for the name of an existing LLC by entering the name into the appropriate field. If your name doesn't appear after your search, then that is a good indicator that the name has not already been used in your state.

Ready to start your LLC? Start an LLC Online Now

Step 2

Call or email the secretary of state's office in the event that its website doesn't have search capabilities, or to confirm your findings from your web search. Both phone and email contact information should be located on the website. The office should confirm whether or not your chosen name has been used.

Step 3

File a name reservation request with the secretary of state's office in your state in the event you are not immediately forming the LLC, yet want to make sure the name remains available. Upon receipt of the name reservation request, the secretary of state will check to make sure the name is not currently in use and, if not, will hold the name for your business for a specified period of time, depending on state law. This will assure that your chosen name is available and does not get taken by another company between the reservation time and the date you actually form your LLC.

Step 4

Check with each secretary of state’s office to make sure your current LLC name is available in all states in which you desire to register to do business as a foreign LLC. In the event your business name is already being used in that state, your LLC’s manager will be required to submit a statement or file an appropriate resolution adopting an available fictitious name to use when transacting business in that state as a foreign LLC.

Ready to start your LLC? Start an LLC Online Now
How Do You Register a Name to Become Incorporated?

References

Related articles

How to Operate an LLC Under a Personal Name

A limited liability company, or LLC, must register with a state. Part of the process of registering is selecting a business name that complies with state law. The registration process differs from state to state, but all states have the same two legal requirements for business names: the name must be distinguishable from any other business operating in the state, and it must include a suffix that alerts the public to the business's status as an LLC. Any name can be used, including the name of a person, as long as the name meets these two requirements.

How to Check a Name for a Trademark

The primary reason to conduct a trademark search is to avoid using a name for your business that cannot be registered with the federal or state government. Before using the name, it is important to check whether the name, or a very similar name, is currently in use. You can check the records of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for federally registered trademarks. State registered trademarks can be checked in the records of the state agency overseeing trademark registration. You should also research the market area where you do business to search for unregistered trademarks currently in use.

How to Create an LLC Online

Compared to other types of business entities, limited liability companies, or LLCs, are relatively new structures. LLCs are regulated by state limited liability acts. As of 2010, some state acts are less than 20 years old. Many states such as Missouri, Oklahoma, Wisconsin and others have a streamlined registration process for LLCs including the ability to form an LLC online without ever having to fax, mail or hand-deliver any paperwork.

LLCs, Corporations, Patents, Attorney Help

Related articles

How to Name a C Corp

What you name your business is important because a name helps define its identity. If chosen correctly, a name will be ...

How to Determine If a Business Name Is Available in Kentucky?

Your business name will be the first point of contact for most of your customers, so making sure you have one that ...

How to Register a Business Name With the State of South Carolina

Your business name is more than just a few words that appear on your filing documents and tax returns; it's often your ...

How do I Convert a DBA to LLC?

If you are conducting business using a DBA, which is short for "doing business as" and sometimes called a ...

Browse by category