Look up an LLC

How to Look Up an LLC – Any of the 50 States

In this blog post learn how to look up an LLC and discover the various methods of searching business names in each state.

There are several ways to look up an LLC and do a business name search to determine the availability of a business name. Here are some options:

  1. Search on the Secretary of State’s website: Most states have a Secretary of State website where you can search for business names to see if they are already taken. You can often look up an LLC by business name, entity type, or business ID number. 
  2. Use a search engine: You can use search engines like Google or Bing to look for the business name you are interested in. This may help you find businesses with similar names or variations of the name you’re considering.
  3. Check the USPTO website: If you plan on registering your business name as a trademark, you can check the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) website to see if anyone else has already registered a similar name.
  4. Use a business name availability tool: There are online tools that can help you check the availability of a business name. These tools may search multiple sources, including state business registration databases and domain name databases.
  5. Check social media: You can also search and lookup an LLC on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to see if anyone else is using the business name you are interested in.
  6. Check local cities for similar names through DBA “doing business as” databases.


Man with a laptop doing an LLC Name Lookup

How to Check if Someone Else is Using Your Business Name Legally

Choosing the right business name is a crucial step for any entrepreneur. It is essential to select a name that represents your brand and stands out in the market.

However, finding the perfect name can be challenging, especially if someone else is already using it. This article will explain what it means for a business name to be “taken” and how to check if someone else is using your business name legally.

Our Business Name Search Guides

Alabama Name Search Louisiana Name Search Ohio Name Search

Alaska Name Search

Maine Name Search

Oklahoma Name Search

Arizona Name Search Maryland Name Search Oregon Name Search
Arkansas Name Search Massachusetts Name Search Pennsylvania Name Search
California Name Search Michigan Name Search Rhode Island Name Search
Colorado Name Search Minnesota Name Search South Carolina Name Search
Connecticut Name Search Mississippi Name Search South Dakota Name Search
Delaware Name Search Missouri Name Search Tennessee Name Search
Florida Name Search Montana Name Search Texas Name Search
Georgia Name Search Nebraska Name Search Utah Name Search
Hawaii Name Search Nevada Name Search Vermont Name Search
Idaho Name Search New Hampshire Name Search Virginia Name Search
Illinois Name Search New Jersey Name Search Washington Name Search
Indiana Name Search New Mexico Name Search West Virginia Name Search
Iowa Name Search New York Name Search Wisconsin Name Search
Kansas Name Search North Carolina Name Search Wyoming Name Search
Kentucky Name Search North Dakota Name Search  

How to Check if Someone Else is Using Your Business Name Legally

Choosing the right business name is a crucial step for any entrepreneur. It is essential to select a name that represents your brand and stands out in the market.

However, finding the perfect name can be challenging, especially if someone else is already using it. This article will explain what it means for a business name to be “taken” and how to check if someone else is using your business name legally.

#1 Secretary of State Business Name Lookup

One of the most important things to consider when brainstorming potential business names is whether they are available. To do this, you’ll need to cross-check your list of names with major databases to see if they’ve already been registered by another business.

Fortunately, there are several free lookup tools you can use to make this process easier.

The first place you should look is your state’s official business name availability search tool. Every state in the U.S. has one, and it’s usually run by the state agency responsible for business filings, such as the Secretary of State or the Department of State. In some cases, it may be run by a different department, like the commerce or revenue department, or a division of corporations.

To use your state’s LLC lookup tool, you’ll typically need to provide your desired business name and entity type, then check it against current records. If you’re not quite ready to register your business but have found the perfect name, some states may allow you to reserve it for a period of time.

This can be a good option if you’re still in the early stages of planning and don’t want to risk losing your preferred name to another business.

It’s worth noting that you should be wary of any site that asks you to pay to use their business name availability search tool. This is typically unnecessary, as state-run tools are available for free and are just as effective.

By using the free LLC lookup tools provided by your state, you can ensure that your desired business name is available and avoid potential legal issues down the road.

Here’s a list of links to the Secretary of State websites for each state:

#2 Do a Google Search

Searching for business name availability on Google is a relatively straightforward process. Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Open your web browser and go to the Google search engine (www.google.com).
  2. In the search box, type in the name you want to use for your business. For example, if you want to name your business “Green Leaf Enterprises,” type “Green Leaf Enterprises” into the search box.
  3. Hit enter or click on the Google search button. Google will show you a list of results related to your search query.
  4. Scroll through the search results and look for any businesses or websites that use the same or a similar name to what you want to use. You can also try adding words like “company” or “business” to your search to help narrow down the results.
  5. If you find a business that uses the same or a similar name, click on the link to visit their website and check if they operate in the same industry or market as your intended business. If they do, you may need to consider using a different name to avoid confusion.
  6. If you don’t find any businesses or websites that use the same or a similar name, it’s a good sign that the name is available. However, it’s still a good idea to check if the name has already been registered as a trademark or is being used by a business in a different region or country.
  7. You can also use Google’s advanced search features to help narrow down your search results. For example, you can search for exact phrases or exclude certain words to help refine your search.

Overall, searching for business name availability on Google is a good first step, but it’s important to conduct a more comprehensive search to ensure that the name you want to use is truly available and doesn’t infringe on any existing trademarks or businesses

#3 Trademark Search

When naming your business, it’s crucial to conduct a trademark search to ensure that the name you choose is not already taken. Simply searching through your state’s database is not enough; you must also check the USPTO trademark database for any similar or related names that are marked as live.

Unfortunately, there’s no simple solution if your proposed name is too similar to an existing trademark. You cannot simply purchase the trademark; you must buy the entire business. Therefore, it’s essential to choose a unique name from the outset to avoid any legal entanglements down the line.

If you’re confident that your proposed name is free of any trademark conflicts, we still recommend registering it as a trade name with the USPTO. Although this step is not required to register your business with your state, it can provide an additional layer of protection against infringement claims in the future.

 #4 Business Search Tool

To do a business name search with online tools from LLC services like ZenBusiness, Incfile, and Northwest Registered Agent, follow these steps:

  1. Go to the website of the LLC service of your choice (e.g., ZenBusiness, Incfile, or Northwest Registered Agent).
  2. Click on the “Business Name Search” or “Name Availability Check” option on their homepage.
  3. Enter the name you want to use for your business in the search box.
  4. The LLC service’s online tool will search the state’s business registration database to check if your chosen name is available.
  5. If your chosen name is not available, the tool will suggest alternative names that are similar to your preferred name.
  6. If your chosen name is available, the tool will give you the green light to proceed with registering your business name.
  7. In some cases, the LLC service may charge a fee to conduct a more in-depth search of the database to ensure your chosen name is truly unique and available.

Keep in mind that the business name search is just the first step in the process of registering your business. After you confirm that your desired name is available, you will need to file the necessary paperwork with the state to officially register your business name.

#5 Social Media

To do a business name search on social media, follow these steps:

  1. Start by choosing a social media platform where you want to conduct your search. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Pinterest are popular options.
  2. Once you’ve selected a social media platform, open the search bar and type in the name you’re considering for your business.
  3. Check if any search results appear that are related to businesses with the same or similar name. If there are, review their profiles to see if they are currently active.
  4. Pay close attention to businesses in your industry or niche, as they may be your direct competitors.
  5. Check the usernames and handles of businesses you find to see if they are using the name you’re considering or something similar.
  6. Look for any tags or hashtags that businesses with the same name or similar name are using. This can help you identify if they are actively using the name you want to use on social media.
  7. Finally, if you find that the name you want to use is already taken on social media, consider modifying it slightly or coming up with a new name altogether.

By following these steps, you can conduct a business name search on social media and determine if the name you want to use is available or not. This can help you avoid potential legal issues down the road and ensure that your brand has a unique identity on social media.

It’s important to note that the availability of a business name can vary depending on the state, industry, and type of business entity you plan to form. It’s a good idea to do thorough research and consult with a legal professional before choosing a business name.

Secretary of State and Business Entity Search (50 States)

Registering business names for a particular state are handled by the Secretary of State for that state.

We have listed the website links to the secretary of state’s website for each of the 50 states, plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.

Find your state and visit its business entity search page to do your search.

Secretary of State – 50 States Business Entity Search
Alabama Secretary of State Alabama Business Entity
State of Alaska Alaska Corporations Database
Arizona Secretary of State Arizona eCorp Business Entity Search
Arkansas Secretary of State Arkansas Business Entity Search
California Secretary of State California Business Search
Colorado Secretary of State Colorado Business Database Search
Connecticut Secretary of State Connecticut Business Inquiry Search
State of Delaware Delaware Business Entity Search
District of Columbia Office of the Secretary District of Columbia Business Filings Search 
Florida Department of State Florida Business Name Search
Georgia Secretary of State Georgia Business Search
State of Hawaii Hawaii Business Entity & Documents Search
Idaho Secretary of State Idaho Business Entity Search
Illinois Secretary of State Illinois Corporation & LLC Search
Indiana Secretary of State Indiana Business Search
Iowa Secretary of State Iowa Business Entities Search
Kansas Secretary of State Kansas Business Entity Search Station (BESS)
Kentucky Secretary of State Kentucky FastTrack Business Organization Search
Louisiana Secretary of State Louisiana Business Filings Search
Maine Secretary of State Maine Corporate Name Search
Maryland Secretary of State Maryland Business Entity Search
Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth Massachusetts Business Entity Search
Michigan Secretary of State Michigan Business Entity Search
Minnesota Secretary of State Minnesota Search Business Filings
Mississippi Secretary of State Mississippi Business Search
Missouri Secretary of State Missouri Business Entity Search
Montana Secretary of State Montana Business Entities Search
Nebraska Secretary of State Nebraska Corporation and Business Search
Nevada Secretary of State Nevada Business Search
New Hampshire Secretary of State New Hampshire QuickStart Business Search
New Jersey Department of State New Jersey Business Entity Name Search
New Mexico Secretary of State New Mexico Business Search
New York Department of State New York Corporation & Business Entity Database
North Carolina Department of the Secretary of State North Carolina Corporate Name Search
North Dakota Secretary of State North Dakota Business Search
Ohio Secretary of State Ohio Business Search
Oklahoma Secretary of State Oklahoma Search Corporation Entities
Oregon Secretary of State Oregon Business Name Search
Pennsylvania Department of State Pennsylvania Business Entity Search
Puerto Rico Department of State Puerto Rico Corporations Search
Rhode Island Secretary of State Rhode Island Corporate Database
South Carolina Secretary of State South Carolina Business Name Search
South Dakota Secretary of State South Dakota Business Information Search
Tennessee Secretary of State Tennessee Business Information Search
Texas Secretary of State Texas Taxable Entity Search
Utah Secretary of State Utah Business Name Search
Vermont Secretary of State Vermont Business Search
Commonwealth of Virginia Virginia Business Entity Search
Washington Secretary of State Washington Corporations Search
West Virginia Secretary of State West Virginia Business Entity Search
Wisconsin Secretary of State Wisconsin Search Corporate Records
Wyoming Secretary of State Wyoming Business Entity Search



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