Wisconsin LLC Name Search

Written by: Mary Gerardine

Last updated:

One of the first and most important steps of any new business is finding the perfect name for your Wisconsin LLC.

Checking the LLC name availability in Wisconsin is an important step in the business formation process. It ensures your business name is distinguishable from the names of other Wisconsin businesses so that you do not violate anyone’s intellectual property rights.

Our Wisconsin LLC Name Search guide will show you how you can find available business names in Wisconsin, 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.

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How to Search for a Wisconsin LLC Name

Below are the four steps that you need to follow in order to conduct an LLC name search in Wisconsin.

Step 1: Follow the Wisconsin LLC Naming Guidelines

To ensure your company legally registers a name with the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions, you’ll need to follow all naming guidelines. Below are the naming guidelines:

  • The business name must include the term “limited liability company” or its abbreviation “LLC.”
  • Your name must not resemble any government entities either by including a phrase term or using an abbreviation. 
  • The business name must not imply your LLC was created and organized for any non-permitted purpose.
  • The business name cannot include the word “insurance” unless the name is able to imply the corporation is not an insurance company. 
  • Specific industries like “architecture,” “professional engineering,” or “designing” need to comply with a set of specific requirements. 
  • Your name must not be composed of indistinguishable words. 
  • Using the word “cooperative” is only allowed with cooperative associations and is not allowed to be used with any other business or nonprofit corporation.

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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More than 72% our readers form their LLC using a professional filing service. Our recommended service provider is:

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Step 2: Look Up Wisconsin LLC Name Search Availability

The next step is to conduct a Wisconsin LLC name search. Below are a few ways to do a business name search in Wisconsin.

  • LLC Name Search: Search the Wisconsin Business Entity 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 Wisconsin LLC Name

Once your company established an available LLC name, it should file to reserve the name with the state of Wisconsin. This ensures no other company can register the LLC name for up to 120 days.

Your company will need to obtain and fill out the Name Reservation Application as well as include a $15 check or money order for the reservation fee.

This simple form includes places for contact information and the name of the business. Unfortunately, there is no way to file the reservation online; your business will need to send the application by mail.

Using a Wisconsin DBA for Your LLC

Wisconsin uses the terms trade name and DBA (doing business as) interchangeably. All filings for a DBA will go through the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions.

If your company wants to go by a different name other than the legal LLC name you have registered, it will require filing for a DBA. You’ll need to search through the DBA database to ensure the name you want is available and follow all naming guidelines.

The Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) and Trademark System allows you to file a DBA name online, or you can apply in-person at the Department of Financial Institutions building. There will be a $15 filing fee due at the time of applying.

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 Wisconsin LLC Trade or Service Mark

All Wisconsin LLC trade or service marks are to be made with the Department of Financial Institutions. Before registering, you’ll want to check the federal trademark database to ensure the name is available.

There is no state law that requires a business to obtain a trade or service mark. The purpose is to legally secure the name, or other business assets, used by your company so that no other business may use or steal the same assets.

If any business does infringe upon your trade or service mark your company is able to take legal action against the perpetrator. There is a $15 filing fee associated with registering and your trade or service mark is valid for up to 10 years.

It is possible to assign a trade or service mark to another party during the 10-year period. Your company may also extend the expiration for up to six months before the 10-year period is up. You’ll file for a trade or service mark online through the Department of Financial Institutions website.

Registering a trade or service mark is not the same as filing a formation document. If you’re registering a business in Wisconsin, check out the steps on how to form a Wisconsin LLC.

Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions Contact Information

Mailing Address

Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions
4822 Madison Yards Way
Madison, WI 53705

Physical Address

Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions
4822 Madison Yards Way
Madison, WI 53705

Hours: Monday-Friday, 7:45 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

Email: DFISecretary@dfi.wisconsin.gov

Phone: (608) 261-9555

Wisconsin LLC Name Search FAQ

Why do I need to do a Wisconsin LLC name search?

When forming a Wisconsin 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 Wisconsin Secretary of State. To search for available LLC names, you can use the Wisconsin Business Entity Search tool on the Department of Financial Institutions’ website.

How do I check if an LLC name is taken in Wisconsin?

You can use the Wisconsin Business Entity Search tool to check if your business name is available. You may also contact the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions via phone at (608) 261-9555 or email at DFISecretary@dfi.wisconsin.gov for assistance on how to perform a Wisconsin LLC name search.

Can I renew a Wisconsin LLC name reservation?

Yes. The state of Wisconsin does allow businesses to renew their LLC name reservation for up to six months as long as the renewal has been completed before the 10-year period is up.

Is the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions LLC name search tool free to use?

Yes. You can use the Wisconsin Business Entity Search tool to find a name for your LLC completely free. The tool will show you all business names that have been registered or reserved and inform you whether or not your name is available.

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