1. Should I Reserve a Company Name in Delaware?
2. Delaware Corporation Name Search
3. Rules on Infringing on Service Marks Inside or Outside Delaware

Should I Reserve a Company Name in Delaware?

A Delaware LLC name check through the Secretary of State office allows you to determine whether another business already uses the name you're considering. This tool is available at corp.delaware.gov. If you aren't ready to create your LLC but already have a name picked out, you can hold the name for 110 days by paying a $75 fee to the Delaware Division Corporation. This fee is not refundable and cannot be applied toward company registration fees. You will need the name reservation receipt to establish a company with this name, so keep this document on hand. If you decide to make even the smallest change to the name, the name reservation is void. While registering an LLC in Delaware usually takes two to three business days, this can be delayed by up to a week if you have a name reservation.

The name of your company should describe what the business does, appeal to your potential customers, and distinguish your corporation or LLC from other businesses. You should avoid a name that limits the types of products and services you can offer.

If you're forming a Delaware corporation, the name must end in one of the following words: company, club, corporation, fund, association, foundation, institute, incorporated, limited, public benefit corporation, union, society, or syndicate. You can also use abbreviations of these words or international corporate endings. 

You cannot use any of these words in the name of your company unless you have approval from the Delaware Secretary of Education or Banking Commissioner: college, university, trust, or bank. You must also avoid words associated with the medical, accounting, and engineering professionals unless one of these professionals is a member of your LLC. 

If you register a Delaware limited liability company, you must use the abbreviation LLC or L.L.C. at the end of your business name. You cannot use words or phrases in the name that are too similar to the name of a state or federal agency. An LLC cannot use the words "corporation" or "incorporated" or the abbreviations "inc." and "corp." 

The name of your LLC must be distinguishable from all other business names registered in Delaware. A difference in grammar or business name identifier does not constitute a distinguishable difference. For example, you cannot register the name Orange Grove, LLC if another business already uses Orange Groves, L.L.C.

The Name Availability Search tool can give you an instant answer about whether your LLC name is available for registration. You can also browse existing business names using the General Information Name Search.

  • Navigate to the search page and agree to the terms and conditions.
  • Select LLC from the "Entity Kind" menu to use the Name Availability tool. Enter your LLC name in the "Entity Name" box without punctuation or the letters LLC to use the General Information Name Search.
  • Choose your desired ending (LLC or L.L.C.) from the drop-down menu labeled "Entity Ending."
  • Press the search button to see your results. Pressing the Enter key will not provide search results. 
  • You'll immediately receive an indication of whether the name is available for use.
  • When you press search for the General Information Name Search, you'll receive a list of existing state businesses that have similar names. For best results, enter just the first word or two of the name. 
  • If you don't see any similar names or if no records are found, the LLC name is available for use. 
  • If the name or a similar name shows up, it's back to the drawing board.

Rules on Infringing on Service Marks Inside or Outside Delaware

In addition to making sure your LLC name isn't too similar to an existing Delaware business, you must make sure that your desired name doesn't infringe on a registered trademark or service mark. The best way to do this search is online through the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

If you need help with a Delaware LLC name check, you can post your legal need on UpCounsel's marketplace. UpCounsel accepts only the top 5 percent of lawyers to its site. Lawyers on UpCounsel come from law schools such as Harvard Law and Yale Law and average 14 years of legal experience, including work with or on behalf of companies like Google, Menlo Ventures, and Airbnb.