Perform a Texas LLC name search to distinguish your LLC from the competition in the minds of your customers, suppliers, employees, and partners.

In Texas, all businesses that are registered and operating in the state are required to be listed with the Texas Secretary of State's office. This office handles all things business, including reserving business names. Searching for a business name in Texas is easy. As of March 2010, the search fee is between free and $5. 

General Texas Secretary of State Rules on Naming Your LLC

Before you start spending time and money on letterhead, marketing, web design, logos, graphics, websites, and business listings, you need to decide what you'll call your company. It's smart to consider a name that's easily identified by:

  • Employees
  • Customers
  • Internet listings. 

It's also better if the name is easy to spell and associated with your business or service. 

Your name needs to be unique and can't be in use or similar to other LLCs or businesses operating in Texas. Your name must also use the English alphabet and regular numbers. They can include symbols like ! “ $ % ‘ ( ) * ? # = @ [ ] / + & and -. 

The name of your business must end with "Limited Liability Company," "L.L.C.," or "LLC" as well. “Limited” and “company” can be abbreviated to “Ltd.” or “Co.”

Don't Confuse Your Texas Business Name with Another

It should never be possible to confuse the name of your business with the name of one of your competitors. If you're trying to decide if the names are too similar, remember that you can't use the following to claim your business is distinguishable:

  • Differing fonts, typeface, accents, and superscript or subscript characters
  • Different punctuation
  • Words like “the,” “and,” “of,” etc.

You also can't use corporation, company, incorporation, incorporated, limited, corp., co., Inc., PC, Ltd., professional corporation, limited partnership, LP, limited liability limited partnership, L.L.L.P., or LLLP to distinguish your business.

Rules on Words You Can't Use in Your Business Name

There are several rules regarding certain words you cannot use when choosing your business name:

  • A Texas LLC name can't suggest any affiliation with a federal or state government agency or entity. 
  • A Texas LLC name can't imply a purpose that would be unlawful to conduct.
  • There are no rules around using the word “insurance.”
  • You can't use the following words as qualifiers: Companies, corporations, incorporation, unlimited, or limited partnerships.

These are only some of the main rules about naming a business in Texas. Keep in mind that there are several more.

Texas Information on Naming an LLC

You can reserve your business name online through SOSDirect. However, you don't have to reserve the name if you're using an LLC. When you register your LLC, the name is automatically reserved for your business. The ability to reserve a name is only for when you won't be forming your business in the near future.

Your name can be used to form any kind of business entity, beyond just an LLC. Filing a registration doesn't guarantee you'll have the name, either. It's best to wait until your LLC is completely formed before using the name for anything.

As stated on the Texas Secretary of State website, “It is up to each business entity to protect its name and goodwill.” 

Texas has several rules on using “assumed' names as well. Check the website for more information.

Rules on Infringing on Service Marks or Trademarks Inside or Outside of Texas

The ideal name for your business should:

  • Describe what your business does
  • Appeal to your audience
  • Be unique.

When you file for your name with the Texas Secretary of State, they will warrant that the name not be used in violation of the Trademark Act of 1946. Due to this, the State and Federal Trademark compliance needs to be considered. A trademark may be properly used, even if it's not registered, which is why it's usually best to work with an experienced attorney.

Name Availability

The name availability search is done when you are going through the process of forming a Texas LLC.  There are several steps:

  1. Use the guidelines to choose an appropriate name.
  2. Use the name availability tool to see if your business name is available for use in Texas.
  3. Check the URL to see if your name is available. You may want to buy the domain to keep others from using it.

If you need help with your Texas LLC search, 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.