An Oregon Secretary of State Business Search must be performed by anyone establishing a business in Oregon. The Secretary of State is responsible for maintaining essential state records, so any entity wishing to operate a business in Oregon must first register with this office.

Performing an entity search on the Secretary of State's website will help you narrow down your business name and access important details for other businesses. The owner of a pre-existing company may use the business search function to access their own company details.

Aspiring business owners should use the Oregon Secretary of State business search to see if their preferred business name is available for use. This is a critical step since business names in Oregon must be unique and distinguishable. Even if you perform the search and conclude that a name is available, the Secretary of State has the final say in your business name. The Oregon Secretary of State is also responsible for managing a corporation's dissolution.

To see if your desired business name is available in Oregon, simply search the database on the Secretary of State's website. Choose the “Business Name Availability Check” under “Search Methods” and enter the name in the search box. After you hit “Search,” the resulting page will let you know whether that name is available. If the name is already in use or too similar to existing businesses, you will get a notice that includes a list of companies in conflict with your chosen name.

To check the details of a company in Oregon, use the same Business Registry Database, choose your preferred search method, and specify other options for your search. You can search for inactive or active businesses by choosing your preferred option on the right side of the screen.

Enter the business name you wish to search for in the box and press “Search for Business Name.” The resulting page will include all businesses that match your search. Just click on the business name or registry number you're looking for to view the business details. You can also view the business's registered agent and their address, plus a summary of the business's history.

Important Oregon LLC Name Search Tips

When performing a search for Oregon LLC names, keep these tips in mind:

  • Search with the default “Exact words in any order” first.
  • Choose the “Extended search” option to expand the search to include any word order.
  • For more details, only enter the first one or two words of your LLC.
  • Don't search for a name using LLC, L.L.C., or punctuation marks such as commas, hyphens, apostrophes, periods, etc.
  • Capitalization doesn't matter when searching the database.
  • The LLC name you wish to use will be available if its results aren't too similar to your LLC name.
  • If the search result yields a page that says, “Your search returned no business entity names,” then your Oregon LLC name is distinct and free to use.
  • If the name you want to use shows up in the registry, then it is not available and you will have to come up with a new one.
  • A name that is deceptively similar to another listed in the registry isn't available for use.
  • Oregon can be quite strict with LLC name availability, so the more distinguished yours is, the better.
  • If the state rejects your name, you will have 45 days to file your application again under a different name before you lose your fee.

After performing an initial search using the database on the Secretary of State's website, call the Oregon Corporation Division at 503-986-2200 to request a preliminary LLC name check. This can help you avoid rejection.

LLC Name Restrictions and Requirements in Oregon

Before deciding on your LLC name, you must adhere to certain state requirements. These include:

  • Using a designator (LLC) at the end of your business name.
  • Deciding whether or not to include a comma prior to the LLC designator.
  • Making your LLC sound like a corporation is not allowed.
  • Your LLC name cannot be confused with a current company in the state.
  • Certain words require special approval before you can use them in your LLC name.

By Oregon law, you must include the designator LLC, L.L.C., or Limited Liability Company at the end of your business name. For example, if the name you wish to use is John's Print Service, you must file the name as John's Print Service LLC.

For expert help getting your LLC established in Oregon, post your legal need on UpCounsel's marketplace.