One of the first and most important steps of any new business is finding the perfect name for your Rhode Island LLC.
Checking the LLC name availability in Rhode Island is an important step in the business formation process. It ensures your business name is distinguishable from the names of other Rhode Island businesses so that you do not violate anyone’s intellectual property rights.
Our Rhode Island LLC Name Search guide will show you how you can find available business names in Rhode Island, and how to reserve and register your business name.
Interested in forming an LLC? We recommend using an LLC formation service in order to ensure that you do not accidentally file your business name incorrectly and have your application denied.
How to Search for a Rhode Island LLC Name
Below are the four steps that you need to follow in order to conduct an LLC name search in Rhode Island.
Step 1: Follow the Rhode Island LLC Naming Guidelines
Choosing the right name for an LLC in Rhode Island is critical. It should accurately reflect the intended purpose of your business while also taking any applicable state guidelines into consideration.
Entrepreneurs must abide by the rules of the Rhode Island Department of State, which outlines several restrictions and naming conventions that must be adhered to.
Failure to do so may lead to legal issues down the road, and to ensure proper compliance, it’s essential to research all relevant regulations and take the necessary steps to ensure that your chosen name is compliant with the law. You’ll need a bit of legwork and creative thinking, but finding a suitable name for your LLC in Rhode Island is well worth the effort.
The first step is to ensure that your chosen name complies with the requirements of Rhode Island’s LLC naming guidelines as listed below:
- The LLC name must include one of the following words or abbreviations: “Limited Liability Company,” “L.L.C.,” or “LLC.”
- The LLC name must be distinguishable from the names of existing corporations or LLCs registered in Rhode Island.
- The LLC name cannot contain words that suggest it is organized for any purpose other than that expressed in its Certificate of Organization or the accompanying documents. This includes professional organizations that require official state licensure to operate.
- The LLC name cannot contain words of profanity, immorality, or criminality or words that would otherwise require approval by a higher authority, such as “bank,” “insurance,” or “university.”
- Words implying governmental approval, such as “US Department of Commerce” or “US Government,” are prohibited without prior approval by that government entity.
- The LLC name must be distinguishable from the corporate name of an existing registered charity.
- The LLC name must not imply a connection with the federal government or any state other than Rhode Island.
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 Rhode Island LLC Name Search Availability
The next step is to conduct a Rhode Island LLC name search. Below are a few ways to do a business name search in Rhode Island.
- LLC Name Search: Using the Rhode Island Department of State Business Entity Search, you can perform a search by business name, individual name, identification number, and other advanced parameters. 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 a domain name next if you want to represent your brand or organization with a website. 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 Rhode Island LLC Name
If you have an LLC name in mind that you wish to reserve, you can file a name reservation online via the RI Business Portal. The name reservation filing fee is $50.
Filing a Reservation of Entity Name form will reserve your chosen entity name for a non-renewable period of 120 days from the date of filing, releasing your name to the public if you haven’t officially registered your LLC within the reserved time window.
Using a Rhode Island DBA for Your LLC
In Rhode Island, a DBA (“doing business as”) name is known as an assumed name or trade name. A Rhode Island assumed name allows you to use a name other than your business’s legal name when operating.
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. The fee for getting a Rhode Island Trade Name Certificate is $10 and must be filed with the City Clerk.
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 Rhode Island LLC Trade or Service Mark
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 Rhode Island 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).
For these reasons, it is important for an LLC owner to register a mark with the Rhode Island Secretary of State. The filing fee for a Rhode Island Trademark or Service Mark is $50 per class (“class” means goods and services).
Registering a trade or service mark is not the same as filing a formation document. If you’re registering a business in Rhode Island, check out the steps on how to form a Rhode Island LLC.
Rhode Island Secretary of State Contact Information
Rhode Island Division of Business Services
148 W. River Street
Providence, RI 02904
Hours: Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
Phone: (401) 222-3040
Rhode Island LLC Name Search FAQ
Why do I need to do a Rhode Island LLC name search?
When forming a Rhode Island LLC, you will be required to choose a name and either file Articles of Organization or a Name Reservation request. This name must be unique and available for use and should not already be registered with the Rhode Island Department of State. To search for available LLC names, you can use the Rhode Island Business Entity Search tool.
How do I check if an LLC name is taken in Rhode Island?
You can use the Rhode Island Business Entity Search tool to check if your business name is available. You may also contact the Rhode Island Department of State – Corporation Division via phone at (401) 222-3040 or email at email@example.com for assistance on how to perform a Rhode Island LLC name search.
Can I renew a Rhode Island LLC name reservation?
If you wish to reserve an LLC name, you can do so for a period of 120 days in the state of Rhode Island, after which your name reservation will be released to the public. It is imperative that you file official Articles of Organization for your LLC within this reservation period to secure your name permanently.
Is the Rhode Island Department of State LLC name search tool free to use?
Yes. You can use the Rhode Island Business Entity Search tool for free to search for LLC and business names. When you wish to file officially, whether that’s for the LLC Articles of Organization or a Business Name Reservation, you’ll be required to pay associated filing fees.