How to Search LLC Names

By Marcello Viridis
An LLC name search includes running a search of registered trademarks.

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Both federal and state law require that the name of a limited liability company (LLC) is unique and does not copy or substantially copy the name of a registered trademark. Accordingly, before you can use a name for your LLC you must first determine whether it if available for use. Fortunately, running a LLC name search can be accomplished without much difficulty.

Determine the appropriate state agency that is responsible for regulating LLCs in your jurisdiction. Generally, this will be the Secretary of State but in some states LLC regulation is performed by a specialized agency.

Contact the office and inform the agency that you would like to perform an LLC name search. Most states have a business name database for all LLCs registered within the state. Most of these databases are available online.

Access the database and perform your LLC name search. Most databases employ a simple name input procedure, where you type in a name and the database offers a list of names that match or nearly match your inputted query.

Visit the United States Patents and Trademark Office's (USPTO) website. Perform an LLC name search via the Trademark Electronic Search System. If your LLC name is a registered trademark, you will not be able to use it as your company name.

Contact your state trademark office and run a LLC name search of its trademark database. Alternatively, you can use a online resource such as trademark.com to run an LLC name search of registered trademarks at the state level. Some states include this in their business name databases. If so, there is no need to perform this step.

About the Author

Marcello Viridis has been "working in writing" for the past six years. Since publishing his first article in 2004, he has written on a range topics from working and living overseas for the Wall Street Journal's Black Collegian website to legal essays for the Encyclopedia of American Civil Liberties. Viridis has a B.A. from Pomona College and a J.D. from Lewis and Clark Law School.

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