1. LLC Name Overview
2. Naming an LLC Legally
3. Restricted Words for LLC Names
4. Factors to Consider When Choosing an LLC Name
5. Check for Name Availability
6. Trademark Protection

LLC naming rules define how limited liability companies should be named during incorporation in all 50 U.S. states. The rules must be strictly adhered to when starting a business in order to avoid getting in trouble with the law from the outset of the business.

LLC Name Overview

It's typically not much work to choose the right name for your LLC, but may be worth a bit of extra effort. After all, the name of your LLC is going to be around for a long time, hopefully. Your company's name is supposed to make it stand out from the competition and become the company's identity.

It isn't impossible to change the name of your LLC in future. However, it will be more work and will result in the loss of any recognition your brand might have gained in the meantime. Composing a name for your limited liability company takes more than racking your brains for an appropriate label. It involves ensuring compliance with the state laws and federal rules for trademarks that govern LLC naming.

Naming an LLC Legally

When creating a name for your LLC, the most important thing to focus on is to ensure it is legal. In most cases, the way to make sure your LLC's name is legal is to avoid disallowed words and phrases and include required words and phrases. LLC name requirements differ based on state. However, all 50 states have many rules in common.

Every state requires that the company's name reflect its LLC status. As a result, “limited liability company” or “LLC” must be part of the company's name. There are various ways to shorten the term “limited liability company.” Some examples are the following:

  • LLC
  • LC
  • L.L.C.
  • L.C.
  • Ltd.
  • Co.

Corporations can also use:

  • Corporation
  • Incorporated
  • Company
  • Limited
  • Corp
  • Inc.

Restricted Words for LLC Names

According to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), some kinds of businesses can't be incorporated as LLCs. Examples are insurance companies and banks. As a result, certain states forbid the use of words like “bank” and “insurance” in naming LLCs.

States also demand that businesses don't use:

  • obscene words,
  • words that falsely, directly or indirectly, claim association with government bodies,
  • words that promote illegal activity, and
  • any other words or phrases that are forbidden by law.

You can find a list of disallowed words on the website of your state's business regulatory body.

Factors to Consider When Choosing an LLC Name

Your company's name should be something that can be easily remembered by people. Whatever you do, don't forget that choosing a memorable name will help people easily recall your company and help customers easily associate your company's name with the kind of service or product you provide.

It's recommended to avoid acronyms, unless you don't mind wasting money on useless marketing efforts. You shouldn't expect to get people's interest with a few letters. If you're bent on shortening your company's name, shorten it into an amalgam. For example, FedEx, which stands for Federal Express, or Nabisco, which stands for National Biscuits Company.

Your LLC's name doesn't need to be elaborately descriptive. The description will better fit into your slogans or taglines. Your LLC's name should be more like a symbol that creatively points to the essence and purpose of your business. For instance, Netflix versus FilmsOnline.com for an internet-based video rental business.

Check for Name Availability

Before you settle for a name, make sure it's not in use by another company in your state. In most states, business name regulatory bodies offer free, searchable databases of all registered business names on the internet, which can help narrow down your options. You may also want to search the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office's trademark database and for possible domain names to avoid future hiccups.

Trademark Protection

If you can get your company trademark protection, other businesses will be prohibited by trademark law from using logos and names that are similar to those of your business to prevent such logos and names from being confused with yours. If your company is into retail or local services, it's recommended that you take advantage of trademark protection.

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