The LLC Resource Center
Provided By Attorney Bob Montgomery - 30+ Years Forming LLC's & Corps
Registering A Business Name
This web page provides information about registering a business name. The website is owned by Documents, Inc., dba The LLC Resource Center and much of the information about registering a business name has been provided by attorney Robert (Bob) Montgomery. Bob has been counseling and incorporating businesses for more than 25 years. During that time he's helped set up more than a 1000 corporations and limited liability companies (LLC's). All of these involve registering a business name. Bob is a former business owner himself and has been corporate legal counsel for numerous small business corporations. He's presented lectures and seminars on the benefits and procedures involved with incorporating or forming LLC's including how to register a business name.. He is a respected member of the legal community and is licensed to practice law in three states. The information about registering a business name herein which is provided for general information purposes only. While every attempt has been made to verify the information provided on this web page, neither the author nor his affiliates/partners/agents assume any responsibility for errors, inaccuracies or omissions. Neither The LLC Resource Center nor any of its employees or agents can provide legal services or legal advice. The information available from this website is provided for general information only and should not serve as a substitute for legal advice from an attorney familiar with the facts and circumstances of your specific situation.
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Registering A Business Name
Registering a business name is required if you are forming an LLC or Corporation or if you are using a fictitious or assumed business name. You can search for business name availability by using the free Registering A Business Name Table below.
To learn more about choosing and registering a business name . . . (CLICK HERE)
One of the first things you need to determine when starting a business is decide whether you need to register a business name. Registering a business name is required if you are forming an LLC or corporation or if you are using a fictitious or assumed business name.
Registering a business name in this context refers to registration with the state filing office which is usually the secretary of state. There are other forms of name registration such as registering a trade name or a domain name, but these types of registration are done separately and are not covered in this article.
The first thing to do is choose a name for your business that you want to register. Almost any name will work so long as it is not the same or “deceptively similar” to a business name already registered with the secretary of state.
If you are going to operate your business as a sole proprietor and use your own name, then you will likely not need to go through the process of registering a business name. However, if you are operating as a sole proprietor or general partnership and intend to use an assumed or fictitious business name (meaning a name different than your own name) then you will need to register a business name.
For example, if your name is Joe Jones and you want to run a business called Plumbing Professionals, then you will need to go through the process of registering Plumbing Professionals as your assumed business name.
Be aware that some states will allow the registering of a business name for a corporation or LLC when the same name has already been registered as a fictitious or assumed business name. Other states will not allow the registering of any name which is already being used by another entity or as a fictitious or assumed business name.
If you are going to operate your business as a corporation, S corporation or LLC (limited liability company) then you will need to register a name. Registering a business name is part of the process involved in forming a corporation or LLC and you generally don't need to register the name separately or before forming the LLC.
Every state operates separately or individually when it comes to registering a business name. Therefore, it does not matter if someone in a different state from the one you are filing in is using the same name. In other words, you could have an LLC in Ohio named XYZ Plumbing, LLC, and also an LLC in Michigan named XYZ Plumbing, LLC, and each one would be okay because they are filed in different states.
However, even though there may not be a problem as far as your state secretary of state is concerned with registering the same business name which is being used in another state, there may be a problem from a trademark or domain name standpoint. Trademark and domain names must be searched separately. This whole area has become more confusing and complicated with the proliferation of internet use.
The words “corporation, limited liability company, Inc. or LLC,” are generally not considered part of the name for purposes of avoiding duplication. For example, you could not file your LLC as Smith, LLC, if the name Smith, Inc., was already being used in your filing state. The entity designation (like Inc., or LLC) is dropped off for purposes of checking the name for duplication.
There are several ways you can check for business name registration availability. One is to call the secretary of state’s office where you intend to file, and ask them to run a name check.
The fastest and easiest way to check business name availability is to use the free Registering A Business Name Table on this page. (CLICK HERE)
REGISTERING A BUSINESS NAME TABLE
Name of State
LLC Filing Fee
REGISTERING A BUSINESS NAME -
THE DO'S & THE DON'TS