1. Starting an LLC in Arizona
2. Name Selection and Federal Trademarks
3. Name Availability in Arizona

Arizona Corporation Commission LLC forms are part of the necessary application to form your LLC in Arizona. 

Starting an LLC in Arizona

An LLC is a viable business structure for many, but not all, businesses. It's important to understand LLCs in detail before you start to form one in Arizona. Limited liability companies (LLCs) are one potential business structure that boasts streamlined tax filing, organizational flexibility, and protection from personal liability for members. A member, in this case, could represent an LLC, company, individual, or other foreign entity. There is no limit to the number of members in an LLC. The LLC structure marries aspects of corporations and limited liability partnerships.

The first step to starting an LLC in Arizona is choosing its name. Once you have a name in mind, you need to verify two things:

  1. Check to ensure that the name is not part of an existing federal trademark.
  2. Check with the Arizona Corporation Commission's Name Database to ensure that the name is available.

Name Selection and Federal Trademarks

Naming an LLC is often one of the trickier parts of forming the company. Make sure the name you choose meets the following criteria:

  • User-friendly and memorable 
  • Dissimilar to any other federal trademark 
  • Descriptive of your service or product
  • Available on a common domain (either .com, .org, .net, .info, or .biz)

The United States Patent & Trademark Office keeps a record of all trademarked names that you can search for similarities with your intended business name

It is understandable that you want a name that is descriptive of your service or product. For instance, a flower stand called "Alicia's Flower Shop" is clearly descriptive of the product. When trademarking these types of names, you have fewer protections under federal trademark law. However, most consumers appreciate the ease of understanding what your product is in this case. 

On the other hand, your lawyer will feel more comfortable with a brand name that is more unique. Computer-related products named Windows ® or Microsoft® have a trademark that can be highly protected by law, due to the uncommon association between the name and the product. The highest trademark protection is afforded to names that are more arbitrary than descriptive. 

Name Availability in Arizona

Look for any names that are exact matches or close to the name you intend for your LLC. You can do this with a few steps:

  1. Take a look at the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) rules for naming a business entity. This will help you understand how new names are compared to existing business names. 
  2. On the ACC's Corporations and LLCs website, find the section “Name – Forms for entity name reservations.” Once you click on the section, a field will pop up that allows you to type in your potential company name. 
  3. Select LLC as the entity type, then click "check name" to submit your request. 
  4. Read Arizona Revised Statutes Section Section 29-602 to ensure that your name meets all of the requirements of the LLC naming policy. 

Note the following from the ACC: Entity names should be distinguishable from all other registered entity or trade names that are already on file. This is the minimum acceptable standard for a new name. In order to be distinguishable, a name must be different in "any way" from another name that is already registered. There are a few exceptions, as listed below: 

  • Names that are only distinguishable by the absence or presence of a space 
  • Names that are the same except for a difference in capitalization 
  • Naming aspects that denote the business structure (such as an LLC at the end of the name) 
  • Names whose only difference is in punctuation 
  • Names that differ only in their use of an ampersand (i.e., "and" vs. &) 
  • Names whose only difference is in the use of a numeral instead of a spelled-out word 
  • Names that simply use a different article (A Long Sip vs. The Long Sip)

If the name has differences other than the ones listed above, it is distinguishable. If the differences are limited to any of the above, the name will not be approved. 

You can also consult the Arizona Corporation Commission Naming Standards for a more in-depth explanation of the criteria used to review a name after it's proposed to the commission. 

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