LLC Name Search | Check LLC Name Availability
Welcome, Future Entrepreneurs! If you’re on this page, it means you have already made up your mind to form an LLC for your business. But you still have not zeroed on the business name. You may have shortlisted a couple of names for the LLC and are looking for information on how to check if those names available or not?
Let me help you out. In this guide, I’ve laid down step by step instructions on how you can check for LLC name availability for free.
At the bottom of the post, I have also shared major points which you should keep in mind while choosing a name for your LLC.
LLC Name Search
The first step in forming your LLC is to check whether the desired name is available for use or not.
Unlike a domain name (which are registered globally), LLC names are registered and reserved within the state where the business is incorporated. What this means is, LLCs with the same names can operate in different states, provided none of them have filed a trademark for the name.
To check for LLC name availability, you need to search through the state’s Secretary of State (SOS) database.
Most of the states allow you to search by – name, and keyword. Some of the states even let you do a wildcard search.
Let’s say you are looking to register ‘Mosby Sports LLC‘ in Texas.
So this what you should do,
1) Search ‘Mosby Sports’ (without the LLC) in the SOS database.
- If no result shows up, then you are good to go. Proceed to the next step.
- If a similar name exists, you need to think of another name.
2) Next, search for only the word ‘Mosby’.
In the search results check for any business name which is related to sports.
For example – If there was a name like ‘Mosby Sports Equipment’s LLC’ registered already, it would be better to look for another name as it may lead to trademark issue later on.
State-Wise LLC Name Availability Search
As mentioned above, LLC name availability has to be checked at the individual state level. From the table below, select the state where you are looking to form your LLC.
On the next page, you can find details on how to conduct the business name availability search along with the state’s LLC naming requirement.
To File for Name Reservation or Directly Register
So let’s say you have found the business name and it is available, what next? Well, you have two options here depending on how prepared are you with your documents:
- File for name reservation – You can temporarily block the name for a period of 30 days to 6 months. During that period, you can prepare the documents for filing.
- Directly register the LLC – If all the documents are ready, you can directly proceed with registering your LLC.
General thumb Rule while naming your LLC
The name you select for your LLC should be unique and not deceptively similar to any LLC already registered in the state.
Differences in the end designators (LLC, Co, LC, Limited Liability company) does not constitute distinguishability.
Like, following business names, are not unique and distinguishable:
- Rock Media LLC vs. The Rock Media LLC
- Mary Landscaping LLC vs. Mary’s Landscaping LLC
- Toby & Jade Restaurant LLC vs. Toby and Jade Restaurant LLC
- 3 Star Media LLC vs. Three Star Media LLC
- Tony Music LLC vs. Tony Music Limited Liability Company
Ultimately, the final decision of the uniqueness of the name is taken by the Secretary of State.
Certain words like banks, insurance, architecture etc, require permission from concerned authorities. LLC name consisting of such words cannot be directly registered.
The name should not violate any state or national trademarks.
Examples of business names which violate trademarks:
- Google LLC vs. The Google LLC
- Yahoo LLC vs. Yahoo Web Media LLC
As the company Google and Yahoo, have trademarked their name, you can not register them. Even if you’re successful in registering the LLC using a deceptively similar name, you’re prone to a lawsuit by these companies for violation of trademark.
The name should adhere to state’s LLC naming convention.
Each state mandates certain rules for naming the LLC. Most of the states require the business name to end with ‘’Limited Liability Company’ or ‘LLC’.
However, abbreviations rules vary from state to state. Some of the abbreviations that can be used are – LLC, L.L.C., LC, L.C., Co etc.
Selecting a name for LLC which is unique, distinguishable and brandable is very important. You do not want to be in a situation where your business is prospering but out of the blue, you receive a trademark infringement notice.
Spend some time and get a rock solid legally safe name for your LLC. When in doubt, it’s better to let the expert do it for you.
Last Updated: 03/05/2019