Choosing a Business Name

Agency: Licensing and Regulatory Affairs

The legal structure for a business determines where the business is to file its name. Sole proprietorships and copartnerships file their names with the county clerk in the county in which their business is located, and also in any other county in which they transact business or have an office. The name standard applied to the names of sole proprietorships or copartnerships by the county clerk is that the name cannot be the same as or so similar to a name already on file with the county as to cause confusion or deception.

Limited partnerships, limited liability companies, and corporations are created by filing the appropriate documents with this Bureau. These entities must select a name that is distinguishable on the records of the administrator from other active names. The phrase distinguishable on the records of the administrator has been defined by guidelines. A name is distinguishable if it has a different sequence of letters or numbers from other names. Filing with the agency creates no substantive rights to the use of a name. The entity may wish to exercise care in selecting a name to avoid infringing on the names filed with the county clerk or filed with the Bureau by another limited partnership, limited liability company, or corporation, or being used by another entity as a trademark, service mark or trade name. To protect any rights a business claims to its name, the business entity must police its name and respond to anyone who infringes on its rights.