LLC Company Name Search: Everything you Need to Know
LLC company name searches are done prior to registering a business with the state’s secretary of state office.3 min read
LLC company name searches are done prior to registering a business with a given state’s secretary of state office or a division or department of the secretary of state office. In order to register the business successfully the name of the business must not already be in use. That is why someone looking to register a limited liability company with a state must do a name search to ensure that the name they would like to use is available.
The Importance of Naming a Business
Starting a new business is exciting. Developing a business model, finding suppliers and putting together a marketing plan are all things that get checked off of the “to-do” list. A lot of enthusiasm goes into picking a name. You may feel that you have picked a name that is integral to the business’ success.
Or you may feel overwhelmed by the part your name plays in your public success. Also, if your business is successful you will have that name for a long time.
Your name will be used in every aspect of your business:
- Placing it on signs of business locations
- Printing it on products
- Having it appear on marketing materials
- Using it as you or staff answer the phone
Some business owners, as they consider what to name their company, may use techniques like brainstorming to find a name that will appeal to the public, will be easily remembered and represents the business’ services or products. Legally a business must have a name that is different from other registered names in your state so that copyright law isn’t violated. That is why it’s necessary to check your preferred name’s availability through a search.
Things to Consider
You may use the same basic principles when naming your company that you considered when you determined what your business would do.
- What are the Demographics of your audience?
- Does the name convey what your business actually does?
- How will customers find you?
- Is the name easy to spell and say?
- Will the name be perceived as too old or too you?
- Can you reasonably scale your business using the same name?
Ask friends or family members what they think of your preferred name. Which is the one they like the best? This can help you determine which name translates best to your target demographic.
What is Trademark Law?
Trademark law is one of the areas of law that businesses owners should know the basics about.
Trademarks are protections for business names. They prevent another business from using your name, or a name that would likely be confused with your name. When someone uses a name that is trademarked they may be forced to change their name or even be forced to pay money damages to the owner of the trademark. So, any business owner that wants to avoid infringing on someone’s trademark rights must do research. It’s not a good idea to have a business too close to another business name where you could confuse customers.
Searching for Trademarked Names
In order to find trademarked names there are several steps you can take.
- Do an online search of the name that you would like to use. Plug the name into a search engine and look over the results. Of course, this is just a basic search and even if no results show up you still need to do more research.
- States have fictitious business name databases that include all of the names used in the state. Sometimes fictitious names are called DBAs (doing business as). Searching this database for the state you are looking to register your business in is another way to discover if your desired name is available.
- The state’s filing office (usually contained in the Secretary of State’s office) has a list of names currently registered in the state.
- Finally ensure that you do a business database search of the trademarks kept by the federal government. This is the final step.
If you need help with searching for trademarks or any other legal need, you can post your legal need on UpCounsel’s marketplace. Upcounsel is a marketplace of legal help for you and your business. 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.