When you're starting an LLC, you'll need to complete a Maine LLC name search to check name availability.
We’ll help you get your Maine LLC registration started with a unique and legally compliant name.
Recommended: Northwest ($29 + State Fees) will register your business name when you form an LLC.
Check LLC Name Availability in Maine
1. Do a Maine Business Name Search
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.
2. Search Available Domain Names
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.
Find a Domain Now
3. Follow Maine Naming Guidelines
Choosing the right name for your limited liability company (LLC) in Maine is crucial for your business. Here are the essential state requirements and guidelines you need to follow:
The name of your LLC must contain the words "Limited Liability Company," "Limited Company," or the abbreviations "L.L.C.," "LLC," "L.C.," or "LC." For a low-profit LLC, the designations "L3C" or "13c" can be used. You may also abbreviate "Limited" as "Ltd." and "Company" as "Co."
Note: If your LLC is filing an assumed name or a name of a foreign LLC, there could be different naming rules.
Your LLC name must be unique and distinguishable from:
- Names of existing corporations, LLCs, partnerships that are already doing business in Maine.
- All reserved, assumed, and fictitious names registered with the state.
- Registered trademarks unless you have the rights to use them and have filed proof of ownership.
The Secretary of State disregards the following while determining distinguishability:
- Words describing the nature of the entity (like "corporation," "company," etc.)
- Presence or absence of the words "and" and "the."
- Differences in punctuation, capitalization, or special characters.
Inappropriate and Unlawful Names
The Secretary of State can refuse to file a name that:
- Contains obscene language.
- Encourages abusive or illegal activities.
- Falsely implies an association with public institutions.
- Violates any other Maine laws regarding business names.
Authorization for Using Similar Names
If you wish to use a name that is similar to an existing business, you may apply to the Secretary of State for authorization. You can receive authorization if:
- The current holder of the name agrees in writing to your use and promises to change its name.
- You provide a court judgment that establishes your right to use the name in Maine.
Use of Another LLC's Name
You can use the name of another LLC if:
- You have merged with the other LLC.
- Your LLC has been formed through reorganization of the other LLC.
- You've acquired all or substantially all of the assets, including the name of the other LLC.
Foreign LLC Name Change
If a foreign LLC operating in Maine changes its name to one that does not meet these requirements, it cannot do business in Maine until it adopts a compliant name and files an amended statement of foreign qualification.
Remember, choosing the right name is an important first step in establishing your LLC. Follow these guidelines to ensure your business name complies with Maine law.
Not sure what to name your business? Check out our LLC Name Generator.
Registering Your Maine Business Name
Whether you're ready to hit the ground running or are still finalizing your plans, let’s take a look at how to secure your name via registration or reservation.
Register Your Maine LLC Name
In Maine, registering your LLC name is a relatively simple task. The official registration of your business name occurs when you file the Maine Articles of Organization. This critical document marks the formal initiation of your business in the state.
The Maine Secretary of State's website provides comprehensive instructions on how to complete the form and pay the necessary state filing fee.
A professional LLC formation service can handle the registration of your LLC name and the setting up of your LLC, making the process even simpler. To learn more, refer to our Best LLC Services review.
Reserve Your Maine Business 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.
File Maine Application for Reservation of Name
File Form MLLC-1 by Mail With the Maine Secretary of State
Fee: $20 (standard), $50 (expedited), $100 (immediate)
Secretary of State
Division of Corporations, UCC and Commissions
101 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333
Considering Using an LLC Formation Service?
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Find out which is best for you.
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.
Now that you have your entity name, it's time to take the next steps to establish your Maine LLC. Check out our full guide on how to form an LLC in Maine, where we can guide you every step of the way.
What are the steps to perform an LLC name search in Maine?
To perform an LLC name search in Maine, navigate to the Maine Secretary of State's Corporate Name Availability Search page. Enter your desired LLC name and review the results to ensure that your chosen name is distinct and not already in use.
How does a Maine LLC name search help in ensuring a unique business identity?
Performing a Maine LLC name search helps to confirm that your chosen LLC name is unique within the state. This step is crucial to avoid potential legal disputes and trademark infringement situations, which may arise if your LLC name is too similar to an existing business.
When should I ideally conduct a Maine LLC name search?
It's advisable to conduct a Maine LLC name search during the early planning phases of your LLC. If there's been a gap since your previous search and you haven't registered the name yet, it's recommended to perform a new search prior to registration.
What are the key guidelines for naming an LLC in Maine?
In Maine, your LLC name must be distinguishable from other businesses, should include "Limited Liability Company", "LLC", or "L.L.C.", and avoid words that could cause confusion with a government agency or suggest a purpose it doesn't have.
Can I reserve a name after conducting a Maine LLC name search?
While you cannot directly reserve your name through the search tool, after verifying the availability of your chosen LLC name, you can reserve it by submitting a Name Reservation Request to the Maine Secretary of State and paying the required fee. This reservation is valid for 120 days.