April 22, 2024

How to Check Business Name Availability

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Naming a business is a bit like naming a band.

You need something that's distinctive, fits your style, and is easy for your audience to remember.

The problem is that a lot of the good names are already taken.

Before you get ahead of yourself, it's important to check that your name is available and meets the relevant naming regulations.

Let's take a closer look at how to search for business name availability.

What's The Best Way to Check Name Availability?

It would be great if the US had a centralized business registry, but the problem is that American companies are incorporated at the state level.

Delaware has their own list of in-state companies, Wyoming has a separate list, and so on.

Fortunately, we've put together a business name search tool that makes it easy to check availability in all 50 states.

That's the best place to start if you're curious about a particular name.

At the same time, confirming availability in your state of incorporation isn't enough.

Just because the name isn't being used in a certain state doesn't mean that you should use it yourself.

Another company may already be using the name in a different state, which could confuse your customers and make it harder to establish a brand.

With that in mind, you should also check sources like Google, Twitter, and LinkedIn to make sure that there aren't any businesses with similar or identical names.

What About Trademark Infringement?

If your name is available and meets the naming guidelines, it will probably be approved by the state government.

Still, this doesn't mean that you won't run into other legal issues.

If another company has received a trademark for the business name, logo, or other branding materials, they have the exclusive right to those marks within their industry.

This means that they could sue for damages and make you change the name to differentiate your business from theirs.

Check the US Patent and Trademark Office's trademark database to search for potential trademark issues.

Trademark law is notoriously confusing, and it can be difficult to gauge whether a particular name is too similar to another.

You should speak to a legal professional if you have any questions about trademarks.

Other Naming Guidelines

On top of availability and trademarks, each state has its own rules about business names.

For example, you may not be able to use the word "university" unless you're actually incorporating a university.

Similar restrictions apply to other words like "bank," "college," and "insurance," so it's important to understand the regulations in your state.

Click here for more info about restricted business names in Delaware and Wyoming.

How to Choose a Business Name

Now that you understand business name availability, you're ready to finalize your name and move forward with incorporation.

If you're having trouble coming up with a good name, read through our guide on how to name a business to get some inspiration.

Once you've come up with a name you like, hit the button below to start your incorporation!

We've already incorporated over 20,000 companies for founders from more than 190 countries — we can't wait to help you make your business goals a reality.

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