One of the first and most important steps of any new business is finding the perfect name for your Ohio LLC.
Checking the LLC name availability in Ohio is an important step in the business formation process. It ensures your business name is distinguishable from the names of other Ohio businesses so that you do not violate anyone’s intellectual property rights.
Our Ohio LLC Name Search guide will show you how you can find available business names in Ohio, and how to reserve and register your business name.
How to Search for an Ohio LLC Name
Below are the four steps that you need to follow in order to conduct an LLC name search in Ohio.
Step 1: Follow the Ohio LLC Naming Guidelines
To begin, confirm that the name you have selected adheres to the regulations outlined in Ohio’s LLC naming regulations, including:
- Your LLC’s name must include “limited liability company,” “LLC,” “L.L.C.,” “limited,” “ltd.,” or “ltd.”
- Your name must not contain any profanity or discriminatory language.
- You must not imply affiliation with a government agency without proper authorization.
- You can’t use certain words such as “bank,” “banker,” “banking,” “trust,” or similar meaning in other languages without approval from the Superintendent of the Division of Financial Institutions.
- You can only use words such as “cooperative,” “coop,” “co-operative,” or “co-op” only if the LLC is registered as a cooperative.
- Your LLC’s name must be unique.
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 Ohio LLC Name Search Availability
The next step is to conduct an Ohio LLC name search. Below are a few ways to do a business name search in Ohio.
- LLC Name Search: Search the Ohio Secretary of State Business Name Search to check if your chosen business name is available. There is no fee when using the business name search. You 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 Ohio LLC Name
You have the option of filing an Ohio Name Reservation if you’re not quite ready to file Articles of Formation. The name reservation filing fee is $39.
You can reserve a business name for 180 days. Use either the Secretary of State Ohio Business Filings system for online filing, or the Ohio Name Reservation (Form 534B) for filing by mail.
Your name reservation will expire if you don’t form your LLC within six months, but you can resubmit the form and pay the fee again.
Using an Ohio DBA for Your LLC
In Ohio, a DBA (“doing business as”) name is known as a trade name. Using an Ohio trade name grants your business permission to use a name other than the legal one (which has LLC or an equivalent).
Should you want to conduct business under a name other than your LLC’s legal one, you can usually create a DBA so long as it too meets the naming requirements.
If you want to keep your legal business name but conduct another business activity under a different name, you can usually create a DBA name and legally operate under a new name. You can do this online through the Ohio Business Filings website, or by submitting a Name Registration (Form 534A) via mail. There’s a $39 fee for registering a trade name in Ohio.
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 an Ohio LLC Trade or Service Mark
Conducting a search on the federal trademark database will allow you to determine if another business or individual has already claimed (“marked”) your desired LLC name.
After verifying the availability of the name, you may choose to apply for a trade or service mark for your business.
Registering your LLC’s trade or service mark with the Ohio Secretary of State not only differentiates the goods or services your business provides, but also establishes statewide notice that no other entity or person can use your marks, including brand name, slogans, and logos.
Given these benefits, it is important that LLC owners register their marks with the Ohio Secretary of State. The filing fee for an Ohio Trade or Service Mark Application is $125. You can file online, or via mail with a Trademark and Service Mark Application (Form 555).
Registering a trade or service mark is not the same as filing a formation document. If you’re registering a business in Ohio, check out the steps on how to form an Ohio LLC.
Ohio Secretary of State Contact Information
Ohio Secretary of State
P.O. Box 670
Columbus, OH 43216
Client Service Center
22 North Fourth Street
Columbus, Ohio 43215
(Enter from Fourth Street)
Hours: Monday-Friday, 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.
Email: Business Contact Form
Phone: (614) 466-3910 / (877) 767-3542 x2
Ohio LLC Name Search FAQ
Why do I need to do an Ohio LLC name search?
When forming an Ohio 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 Ohio Secretary of State. To search for available LLC names, you can use the Ohio Secretary of State Business Name Search. There is no fee.
How do I check if an LLC name is taken in Ohio?
You can use the Ohio Secretary of State Business Name Search to check if your business name is available. You may also contact the Ohio Secretary of State for assistance conducting an Ohio LLC name search. Call (877) 767-3542 x2 or (614) 466-3910, or email using the online form.
Can I renew an Ohio LLC name reservation?
No. Ohio doesn’t have a name reservation renewal, although you can re-reserve your LLC’s name.
Is the Ohio Secretary of State LLC name search tool free to use?
Yes. Go to the Ohio Business Search page to find and determine an available name for your LLC name.