Choosing a Corporate Name



Choosing a Corporate Name

While choosing a corporate name you must comply with the rules of your state's corporation division. You should contact your state's office for specific rules, but the following guidelines generally apply:

  • The corporate name cannot be the same as the name of another corporation on file with the corporations office.


  • The corporate name must end with a corporate designator, such as "Corporation," "Incorporated," "Limited," or an abbreviation of one of these words (Corp., Inc., or Ltd.).


  • The corporate name cannot contain certain words prohibited by the state, such as Bank, Cooperative, Federal, National, United States, or Reserve.






Your state's corporations office can tell you how to check if your proposed name is available for your use. Often, for a small fee, you can reserve your corporate name for a short period of time until you file your articles of incorporation.
Besides following your state's corporate naming rules, you must make sure your name won't violate another company's trademark. For information about trademark law and general advice on picking the right business name, see Pick a Winning Business Name.

Once you've found a legal and available name, you usually don't need to file the name of your business with your state. When you file your articles of incorporation, your business name will be automatically registered.

If you will sell your products or services under a different name, you must file a "fictitious" or "assumed" name statement with the state or county where you business is headquartered. For more information, see Registering a Fictitious Business Name.


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