When it comes to name reservation, you must first choose a name that’s not already taken by another company and reserve it with the Secretary of State’s office in your home state. After finding the right business name, you must take additional steps to ensure that you can use the name legally. In addition, you should check the available names in your state of residence.

Searching for Names

If another company has registered your intended name, or has a name that sounds like yours, state officials will not allow you to register it. This rule applies to the following entities:

  1. Corporations
  2. LLCs
  3. Any other entities that must be registered with the secretary of state

The procedures for searching for names vary by the state you live in, but you would generally search through an online database that your secretary of state provides. Certain states, such as California, compel you to send a name availability request via mail. In addition, the state mandates that you send a letter called a “Name Availability Inquiry Letter” to search for an available name.

Deciding to Register or Reserve a Company Name

After receiving confirmation from state authorities that the name is available, you may reserve it. Reserving company names creates your intention of using the name and prevents others from using it. With that, name reservations are limited in time in all cases.

  1. Example: In California, you have a 60-day timeframe when registering a name.

Check with your state to see how long you may reserve a legal entity name. If you do not need to reserve a company name, you may go straight to the registration process. To create an LLC, for instance, you need articles of organization to successfully create your business, and articles of incorporation for a corporate entity.

Registering or Reserving Your Company Name

To register or reserve a name, you may go to the secretary of state website to find out more information about the registration process in your state and the fee structure. The registration fee itself depends on the state you live in, but the fee is usually around $100 in many cases. If you don’t intend to register your company name immediately, or if you are unsure when you can successfully file the documentation, you should reserve your company name first.

It should also be noted that name reservation does not always guarantee that your name qualifies for registration. For instance, corporate names must include such designators as “Corporation,” “Incorporated,” or any other abbreviated form. The name could still face rejection during the registration process because it does not meet state requirements.

  1. Note: Company name registration is permanent and cannot be reversed when you submit the paperwork.

If you intend to create a sole proprietorship instead, you do not have to register the business with the state. However, business name registration safeguards your brand and company from other entities that may use the name.

When it comes to name research, don’t stop at the state level. Your intended name could also be registered in the form of a trademark. First, search through a list of various places to research company names to ensure the name is not being used elsewhere. If you no longer desire the reserved name, you must take procedures to dissolve the name. Regardless of the name you decide, it may also be a good idea to reserve the name first. For instance, you may love your name at first, but later decide on a better one. If you registered first, you have no way of reversing the name if you want to change it.

Delaware Registration

When it comes to Delaware registration, many small business owners ask themselves if they should register in Delaware. Many business owners choose Delaware because it is an easier process when registering a business entity, and its usually less expensive. With that, this is not always the ideal solution, and you should conduct more research to find out if registering in Delaware is the right choice for your business aspirations.

You should know that Delaware has some of the most business-friendly laws in the nation, which is another reason why many LLCs and corporations choose the state. In fact, Delaware has its own court called the Court of Chancery, where the court system is centered around business law, and the judges decide cases, instead of a jury.

To learn more about name reservation, you can post your job on UpCounsel’s website. UpCounsel’s attorneys will provide additional information on reserving company names and what you need to do throughout the registration process. Moreover, they will give you more information on the necessary maintenance procedures for your business.