One of the first and most important steps of any new business is finding the perfect name for your Montana LLC.
Checking the LLC name availability in Montana is an important step in the business formation process. It ensures your business name is distinguishable from the names of other Montana businesses so that you do not violate anyone’s intellectual property rights.
Our Montana LLC Name Search guide will show you how you can find available business names in Montana, and how to reserve and register your business name.
How to Search for a Montana LLC Name
Below are the four steps that you need to follow in order to conduct an LLC name search in Montana.
Step 1: Follow the Montana LLC Naming Guidelines
The first step is to ensure that your chosen name complies with the requirements of Montana’s LLC naming guidelines as listed below:
- Your name must include the phrase “limited liability company” or one of its abbreviations “l.l.c.” “l.c.,” “llc,” or “lc.” The word “limited” may be abbreviated as “ltd.” The word “company” may be abbreviated as “co.”
- You name cannot be confusable with another LLC name already in use in Montana. For example, you cannot use articles such as “a,” “an,” or “the” to make it sound different when the rest of the name is exactly the same. You also cannot use abbreviations to distinguish your LLC name from another. For example, ‘‘Montana Ave Salon’’ would not be accepted as a name distinct enough from ‘‘Montana Avenue Salon.’’
- Your name cannot include words that falsely imply you are affiliated with a government entity or state agency (FBI, Treasury, Montana Police, etc.).
- Your LLC name cannot imply that the nature of the business is illegal.
Selecting a name is just one of the several requirements when forming an LLC. To avoid improper or incomplete LLC formation documents, we recommend using the assistance of an LLC formation service.
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Step 2: Look Up Montana LLC Name Search Availability
The next step is to conduct a Montana LLC name search. Below are a few ways to do a business name search in Montana.
- LLC Name Search: Search the Montana Business Search tool on the Secretary of State website to check if your business name is available.
- Domain Name Search: If your business name is still available, you must register for a domain name. Having a URL that matches your business name is important since this is how your potential and existing clients can find your business.
To determine the availability of your chosen URL, use a domain registrar, such as GoDaddy.
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Note: While you can use social media to search for business names to determine your desired name, the search results might not give you useful insight if your desired business name is available and exclusive for use.
Step 3: Reserve Your Montana LLC Name
You don’t strictly need a name reservation in Montana if you already filing a business entity formation registration, but reserving one helps to protect your business name. You can file online by registering an account in the business section of the Montana Secretary of State website and paying a fee of $10. If you pay $20, your name reservation request can be expedited.
If the Secretary of State finds that your chosen name is available, it will be reserved for 120 days. It’s important to note that in Montana, a name reservation request is non-renewable.
Using a Montana DBA for Your LLC
In Montana, a DBA (“doing business as”) name is known as an ABN, or Assumed Business Name. An ABN allows you to use a name other than your business’s legal name when operating. It also allows sole proprietors to operate under a business/assumed name.
To use DBA/ABN in Montana, you need to file a request to do so online on the Secretary of State website. The fee is $20 and you will need to create an online account.
LLC owners sometimes choose to brand their businesses with a DBA. Most sole proprietors and general partnerships use a DBA to create a brand other than their surnames.
Step 4: Register a Montana LLC Trade or Service Mark
Doing a name search on the federal trademark database will tell you whether another business or person has already “marked” your name. You can also perform a Montana trademark search on the Secretary of State website.
Once you verify the availability of your LLC name and secure it, you can choose to apply for a trade or service mark for your business.
Registering your LLC business “mark” (refers to trade and service marks) with the Montana Secretary of State not only distinguishes the goods or services your business provides, but also creates a statewide notice that any entity or person cannot use any of your marks (such as brand name, slogans, and logos).
You will need to file to register your trade or service mark by filling out an online form in the trademark section of the Montana Secretary of State website.
Registering a trade or service mark is not the same as filing a formation document. If you’re registering a business in Montana, check out the steps on how to form a Montana LLC.
Montana Secretary of State Contact Information
Montana Secretary of State, Business Services
P.O. Box 202801
Helena, MT 59620-2801
Montana Secretary of State
Montana Capitol Building, Rm 260
1301 6th Ave.
Helena, MT 59620
Phone: (406) 444-3665
Montana LLC Name Search FAQ
Why do I need to do a Montana LLC name search?
When forming a Montana LLC, you will be required to choose a name.. This name must be unique and available for use, and should not already be registered with the Montana Secretary of State.
To search for available LLC names, you can use the Montana Business Name Search on the Montana Secretary of State website.
How do I check if an LLC name is taken in Montana?
You can use the Montana Business Name Search tool to check if your business name is available. You may also contact the Montana Secretary of State via phone at (406) 444-3665 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance on how to perform a Montana LLC name search.
Can I renew a Montana LLC name reservation?
No. In Montana, you can only reserve your business name once, for a non-renewable period of 120 days.
Is the Montana Secretary of State LLC name search reservation tool free to use?
Yes. You can use the Montana Business Search tool on the Secretary of State website.