One of the first and most important steps of any new business is finding the perfect name for your New Jersey LLC.
Checking the LLC name availability in New Jersey is an important step in the business formation process. It ensures your business name is distinguishable from the names of other New Jersey businesses so that you do not violate anyone’s intellectual property rights.
Our New Jersey LLC Name Search guide will show you how you can find available business names in New Jersey, and how to reserve and register your business name.
How to Search for a New Jersey LLC Name
Below are the four steps that you need to follow in order to conduct an LLC name search in New Jersey.
Step 1: Follow the New Jersey LLC Naming Guidelines
The first step is to ensure that your chosen name complies with the requirements of New Jersey’s LLC naming guidelines as listed below:
- Your name must include the phrase “limited liability company” or one of its abbreviations (“LLC” or “L.L.C.”). You may also use the abbreviations “Ltd.” and “Co.”
- Your name cannot include words that falsely imply you are affiliated with a government entity (FBI, Treasury, Real Estate Commission, etc.).
- You cannot use a name that is the same or similar as the name of another active (or reserved) business in the state.
- You cannot use words that imply a connection with a regulated industry unless you have been authorized to operate in said industry. For example, you cannot use the terms “bank,” “college,” “university,” or “police” unless you have been authorized by the appropriate state department.
- If you are bringing your business in from another state, you are considered a “foreign business” and will have to check that the exact same name you have been using is available in New Jersey. Be very careful to check the exact name, including the same punctuation, spelling, and spacing of letters.
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 New Jersey LLC Name Search Availability
The next step is to conduct a New Jersey LLC name search. Below are a few ways to do a business name search in New Jersey.
- LLC Name Search: Search the New Jersey Department of Treasury Business Name Search tool to check if your chosen business name is available. You can also search existing business names on the Business Records page. Alternatively, may also try typing your business or trademark on any search engine to check businesses with similar names. This will also ensure your trademark is unique, meets the state’s requirements, and frees you from any legal hassles in the future.
- 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 New Jersey LLC Name
You can reserve your business name before you file your business formation documents. You can file online on the Business Charter Amendment Service section of the New Jersey Department of Treasury website. Note that if you’re bringing your business with you from another state, you will need to file a different way to reserve it.
You can reserve a business name for six months with the Treasury. If you want to register your business before that six months expires, you need to file a paper application rather than applying online. Alternatively, you can form your business but set the effective (formation) date for the future.
Using a New Jersey DBA for Your LLC
In New Jersey, a DBA (“doing business as”) name can only be used by out-state-businesses that cannot register in New Jersey under the same name because that name is not available. If your exact business name is available, you must use that name. DBAs are only for situations where you cannot use your existing name.
If you originally registered your business in New Jersey and then decide you want to operate under a different name, you can apply to use what’s referred to as an “alternate name.” An “alternate name” will not grant you exclusive rights to the use of the name, but it will legally link you to its use. The application fee for an “alternate name” is $50 and will give you a five-year permission to use the name that can then be renewed. If you need your “alternate name” registration sooner, you can apply for the expedited service by fax, in person, or by courier for an extra $25.
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 New Jersey 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.
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. This is what’s known as registering your trademark at the federal level.
You can also register your trademark at state level by submitting form TMSM-01 to the New Jersey Division of Revenue by mail. You will also need to submit a drawing of what the trademark will look like and three examples of how it will be used (for example, on a storefront, on your product, and on advertising). The fee for New Jersey trademark registration is $50 per trademark. You will get the right to use it for five years, which can then be renewed.
Registering a trade or service mark is not the same as filing a formation document. If you’re registering a business in New Jersey, check out the steps on how to form a New Jersey LLC.
New Jersey Treasury Contact Information
New Jersey Division of Revenue and Enterprise Services,
P.O. Box 308
Trenton, NJ 08646
New Jersey Division of Revenue and Enterprise Services,
33 W. State St., 5th Floor
Trenton, NJ 08608
Hours: Monday-Thursday, 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
Online contact form: Division of Revenue and Enterprise Services — New Jersey Treasury
Phone: (609) 292-6748
Fax Filing: (609) 984-6851
New Jersey LLC Name Search FAQ
Why do I need to do a New Jersey LLC name search?
When forming a New Jersey 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 New Jersey Treasury. To search for available LLC names, you can use the New Jersey Business Name Search tool.
How do I check if an LLC name is taken in New Jersey?
You can use the New Jersey Business Name Search to check if your business name is available. You may also contact the New Jersey Treasury via phone at (609) 292-6748 or fill out the online contact form for assistance on how to perform a New Jersey name search.
Can I renew a New Jersey LLC name reservation?
Yes. You can renew a name reservation by filing an Application for Renewal of Name Reservation to the New Jersey Treasury. The new reservation will be valid for 120 days once approved and can be renewed, transferred, or canceled. The fee for renewing a name reservation is $50.
Is the New Jersey Secretary of State LLC name search tool free to use?
Yes. New Jersey’s Business Entity Name Search is free to use.