An MD LLC search allows you to check the availability of a business name you wish to use in Maryland. You can search using different criteria, such as the name or department ID. An LLC search can also yield information on an existing business.

Before creating a company in Maryland, you'll have to make sure the business name you want is available for you to use in the state.

Most states handle entity creation and management with their Secretary of State office. In Maryland, however, these duties are carried out by the Department of Assessments and Taxation (DAT). You can visit the DAT website to search its database. Use the name or department ID to conduct your search.

To conduct administrative tasks for your business, you can use this same search tool.

You can check the status of entities in Maryland, whether they're active or inactive, and get public information about them. This search tool is helpful in checking the availability of business names if you have plans to form an LLC.

Guidelines for Business Names

To increase your chances of success in naming your business, you'll have to stick to specific guidelines. Your LLC name must end in one of the following: 

Your business name can't include words that imply it's a corporation, so you can't use the words “incorporated,” “corporation,” or abbreviations for them, i.e., “inc.” or “corp.”

Your LLC name has to be “distinguishable” from others in the state, meaning it can't be “confusingly similar” to an existing business name.

The following do not create distinguishability:

  • Different identifiers at the end of a business name: For example, if you want to name your LLC “Carter Investing, LLC,” it will not be available if there's an existing business named “Carter Investing, Inc.”
  • Differences in word forms: Creating variations on the same words by changing singular forms to plurals or making them possessive doesn't count. A business named “Kiwi Grocers, LLC,” will be considered too similar to “Kiwi Grocer, LLC.”
  • Modified articles: Changing articles like “a,” “the,” and “and” isn't sufficient. If an existing business is named “A Print Shop, LLC,” you won't be able to name yours “The Print Shop, LLC” as the names are confusingly similar.
  • Differences in punctuation: Changing periods, hyphens, slashes, commas, etc. doesn't create a distinguishable name. If you want to use the LLC name “Faith Hope & Charity Art Shop, LLC,” but an existing business is named “Faith-Hope-Charity Art Shop,” you wouldn't be allowed to use the name.
  • Numerical differences: A written number isn't distinguishable from its numerical form. For example, “Four Brothers Investments” (with “four” spelled out) is too similar to “4 Brothers Investments.” The state would consider these names to be pretty much the same. 
  • Deceptive similarity: Sometimes, people purposely try to name their business something that's “deceptively similar” to an existing business, especially if the existing company is popular. However, the state will reject your name for this reason. “Speedy Pizza Delivery” is deceptively similar to “Speed Pizza Delivery” or “Super Speedy Pizza Delivery.”

Tips for Creating a Name for Your LLC

If the desired LLC name you want to use isn't available because an existing business has the exact name or it's too similar to one, be creative in coming up with another name. You can try a variation of the original name, making it distinguishable, or you can come up with something new. You want a business name that stands out from other companies.

Tips on creating a memorable name include the following:

  • Make it easy to spell so that potential customers can find you when they're searching for your business.
  • Keep it short because people can easily remember shorter names vs. long ones.
  • Give it a positive connotation so that people have a good feeling when they hear it.

You can conduct an LLC search for different reasons, and the state makes it simple to perform these searches, using different search criteria. Whether you're checking business name availability or looking up public information on existing businesses, you can simply visit the state database.

If you need help with an LLC search in Maryland or another state, 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.