Updated November 11, 2020:

Trade name registration NJ involves looking up a potential business name for availability and then filing a form to register the name. For sole proprietorships and partnerships, trade name search and registration is done at the local county office. For LLCs and corporations, name registration is done with the New Jersey Department of Treasury.

Why Your Business May Need a Trade Name

Businesses are required to use their legal names to conduct business in New Jersey. However, using legal names is not always practical. For example:

  • Sole proprietors may want to protect their names for privacy reasons.
  • The names of LLCs and corporations are legally required to contain certain phrases that make the names lengthy. This limits the usability of such names in terms of marketing.

These and other reasons may lead a business to use a shorter, more-appealing name for marketing purposes. New Jersey requires that such names, called trade names or alternate names, first be approved and registered in the state. A trade name should ideally meet the following requirements:

  • It must be different from the names of other registered businesses.
  • People should be able to distinguish it from the names of similar businesses.
  • The name should not infringe on any registered trademark in the U.S.

Entities that conduct business under a trade name in New Jersey must register the names. Registration requires the business to file a form and pay a fee. There is a chance of filing a name that is already in use or not distinguishable from another registered name in New Jersey. In this case, the state will not refund the fee incurred in the filing. To prevent such a scenario, conduct a name search to ensure that the trade name you want to register is actually available.

How to Conduct a Trade Name Search in New Jersey

Making a name search before filing a trade name in New Jersey applies only to sole proprietorships and partnerships. Local county authorities regulate the process of trade name registration for such businesses.

You can look up a name's availability on the county clerk's online database. For example, for Morris County, you can search by:

  1. Click on the home page.
  2. Click E-Services.
  3. Click on Document Search on the right side of the page.
  4. Click on Basic Searching.
  5. Type the name under Party Name.
  6. Click Search.

If there is a registered name that is identical or too similar to the one you wanted to register, you need to edit the name before you can register it.

How to Register a Trade Name for New Jersey Sole Proprietorships and Partnerships

Counties require that businesses register trade names by filing a trade name certificate. The clerk will need several notarized copies of the completed application forms in addition to the filing fee. The county office will then issue the Certificate of Trade Name. Details needed on the trade name filing form include:

  • The business' street address.
  • The names of the business owners and managers.

How to Register a Trade Name in New Jersey

After a business completes the registration process in New Jersey, it may want to register a trade name. This is also called an alternate name.

LLCs, limited partnerships, corporations, and non-profits are not required to perform a name search before filing the name. However, this means there is no guarantee that the company can use the name exclusively. The registration can be done online on the New Jersey Division of Revenue website. You can register by filing Form C-150G. This registration, which is valid for five years, costs $50 and can be renewed by filing Form C-150R. Some of the details needed on Form C-150G are:

  • The business' legal name and address.
  • The business' ID number.
  • The purpose of wanting an alternate name.

Limitations on the Use of Trade Names in New Jersey

LLCs and corporations are limited in the way they can use trade names. New Jersey law states that an LLC or corporation cannot use a trade name unless the business also uses its legal name. The trade name should not be used in a way that is deceptive or intends to hide the business's true identity. The trade name must be registered with the Secretary of State's office.

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