NAMING YOUR MAINE LLC
1. Maine's LLC Naming Guidelines
Choosing a company name is the first and most important step in starting your LLC. Be sure to choose a name that complies with Maine naming requirements and that clients can search for easily.
Be sure to follow these LLC naming guidelines:
- Your name must include the phrase “limited liability company” or one of its abbreviations (LLC or L.L.C.).
- Your name cannot include words that could confuse your LLC with a government agency (FBI, Treasury, State Department, etc.).
- Restricted words (e.g. Bank, Attorney, University) may require additional paperwork and a licensed individual, such as a doctor or lawyer, to be part of your LLC.
- Your name must be distinguishable from any Maine corporation, limited liability partnership, or limited partnership.
- For example, Sample Business LLC, Sample Business LLP, Sample Business LP, and Sample Business Inc. are all indistinguishable
For a complete list of naming rules in Maine, check out Maine's Limited Liability Company Name statue.
Not sure what to name your business? Check out our LLC Name Generator.
2. Maine Business Entity Search
Before filing your name reservation request, you can use the Maine Secretary of State Business Search (also known as the Corporate Name Search) to check the availability of your desired name.
To perform the most effective search, type in the name you would like to use, excluding identifiers like "LLC," and leave all other boxes blank. This will return all entities using the same or similar names. Since Maine’s search results are limited to only 100 records returned, you may want to try a few variations of your name to ensure you pull up the most comprehensive results.
Be sure to conduct a thorough search before completing your paperwork to avoid rejection.
3. URL Availability
Another important consideration to make when selecting a business name is whether or not your desired web domain name is available. Having a URL that clearly matches your business name is important. This seemingly small step can make a big difference in how prospective customers find your business.
The best way to determine if your desired URL is available is to search for it online using your preferred domain registry, such as GoDaddy.
4. Reserving an Entity Name
The Maine Secretary of State's Bureau of Corporations, Elections and Commissions handles all LLC naming questions and requests. Business names can be reserved for 120 days, but may not be renewed. If the name reservation expires, and you have yet to set up your business entity using that name, you may submit a new application for reservation of the name.
Maine’s online business services can be found on the Bureau of Corporations, Elections and Commissions website. To reserve a business name, you will need to file an application by mail. The fee is $20 and checks must be made out to the “Maine Secretary of State.” An additional $50 can be added if you would like expedited services for 24-hour processing, and $100 for immediate processing.
After choosing a name for your LLC, take the next step and create a unique logo with our Free Logo Generator.
Maine Business Name Reservation Form
Fee: $20 (standard), $50 (expedited), $100 (immediate)
Secretary of State
Division of Corporations, UCC and Commissions
101 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333
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While reserving the name for your Maine LLC is straightforward, there are some other things you should think about when choosing the best name for your business. You may want to do a multi-level trademark and social media search for your name to see if it's available for use online. This will help ensure you have full, unrestricted use of your business name.
Conducting a trademark search of your business name and associated slogans or logos before registering can help prevent costly litigation in the future. Discovering that another entity has trademarked your business name does not automatically disqualify you from using it.
However, it is important to know who is using the name, what industry they operate in, and where they are located to be sure you do not inadvertently infringe upon anyone’s intellectual property rights.
To complete this step:
- While they do not have a comprehensive trademark search, you can use the Maine Secretary of State's Corporate Name Search to see if your business name or associated slogans, logos, or others are in use by another business in your state.
- Search the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s electronic records to find any federally registered trademarks associated with your business name.
Social Media Search
Just as important, or more so, than finding a domain name that fits your business is ensuring that your business name is available for use across social media platforms. To do this, search for your business name on each major site with a tool such as Namecheckr to search across all platforms at once.
Having a name for your business is an important first step for creating a successful Maine LLC, and one that is incredibly easy to do. Once you have found your preferred name using Maine's Corporate Name Search, you'll want to secure your domain name so that your customers will be able to find your business online.
Reserving your name with a Maine Business Name Reservation Form will help you stand out from the competition. With your business name secured, you will be ready to take the next steps to formalize your Maine LLC.