Last Updated: May 21, 2024, 3:48 pm by TRUiC Team

Ohio LLC Name Search

You'll need to perform an Ohio LLC name search to check name availability for your business venture.

We’ll help you start your Ohio LLC with a unique and legally compliant name.

Recommended: Claim your domain name before it's gone. Verify its availability with GoDaddy.

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Check LLC Name Availability in Ohio

Ohio’s Secretary of State Business Services handles all LLC naming questions and requests. Business names can be reserved for 180 days. 

Before filing your name reservation request, you can use Ohio’s Business Entity 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.” This will return all entities using the same or similar names. If your business name is several words, you can even search just the first two words to ensure you pull up all possible similar names.

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 Ohio Naming Guidelines

When starting a business in Ohio, it is important to choose a name that is unique and meets the state's naming requirements

The Ohio Secretary of State maintains a registry of business names and requires new names to be distinguishable from existing registered names. 

This guide provides an overview of Ohio's name availability standards and provides guidance on how to ensure your business name meets the requirements.

General Name Availability Guidelines

In addition to the specific rules provided in the Ohio Revised Code, the Secretary of State applies the following guidelines to determine if a proposed business name is distinguishable upon the records:

  • The use of punctuation, contractions, or abbreviations does not distinguish one name from another. For example, "Knight and Day" is not distinguishable from "Knight & Day."
  • The use of articles or conjunctions does not distinguish one name from another. For instance, "The Big Company" is not distinguishable from "A Big Company."
  • The addition of words indicating the type of business entity (e.g., "Company," "Corporation," "LP," or "Limited Liability Company") does not make a name distinguishable from another. For example, "Barnstormers Ltd." is not distinguishable from "Barnstormers Co."
  • The use of different tenses or numbers of the same word does not distinguish one name from another. For instance, "Hometown Bakery, LLC" is not distinguishable from "Hometown Bakeries, Inc."

The Ohio Secretary of State also considers other factors to determine distinguishability, such as numbers, letters, word order, phonetic spellings, and spelling variations.

Unacceptable Words and Government Affiliation

Ohio prohibits the registration of names containing profanity or words considered slurs against ethnic groups, religions, genders, or heredity. 

Additionally, names that incorrectly or improperly imply government affiliation are not allowed. For example, "I.R.S." is not an acceptable name for a business not affiliated with the Internal Revenue Service.

Accepted Characters

When filing corporate documents, you may use the following characters:

  • Letters of the English/American alphabet
  • Arabic numbers (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 0)
  • Roman numbers (I, II, IV, V, X, C, etc.)
  • Symbols (!, @, #, $, %, &, *, (,), -, +, =, ", ')

Distinguishability on Records

Ohio law mandates that new business names must be "distinguishable upon the records in the office of the Secretary of State" from previously registered business names. 

This requirement applies to various types of businesses, including trade names, corporation names, limited liability company (LLC) names, limited partnership names, limited liability partnership names, and reserved names. 

The purpose is to prevent conflicts and confusion among business names.

State Name Search and Conflict

When you file a business name registration, the Secretary of State conducts a search of their records to determine if any conflicts exist. 

For example, if you propose a trade name, it will be compared against previously registered trade names, corporations, LLCs, limited partnerships, and limited liability partnerships. If your proposed name conflicts with an existing name, it cannot be registered.

For instance, if you request the name "ABC Corp." but there is already an existing business named "ABC, LLC," your filing will be rejected due to the name conflict.

Fictitious Names

Fictitious names, also known as assumed names or "DBAs" (Doing Business As), do not need to be distinguishable from other registered names. 

However, it's important to note that using a fictitious name does not provide legal protection, as other registered names are not required to be distinguishable from a fictitious name.

For example, if "Benny's Ice Cream" is registered as a fictitious name, another entity can register as "Benny's Ice Cream, Incorporated" because the names are not required to be distinguishable.

Undistinguishable Names

If your proposed business name is not distinguishable from previously registered names, it cannot be registered with the Ohio Secretary of State. In such cases, you will need to choose a new name that meets the requirements.

However, if you still want to use a conflicting name, you can obtain consent from the registrant of the conflicting name(s). To register a conflicting name, submit the "Consent For Use of Similar Name" form along with other required documentation, such as articles of incorporation, to demonstrate that you have obtained consent from the prior registrant.

‘Hold’ Status

In certain circumstances, the Ohio Secretary of State may cancel the license of a business. 

If a business's license is canceled, the Secretary of State is obligated to "hold" the canceled entity's name for one year from the date of cancellation. This gives the canceled entity a chance to reinstate its license and use the existing business name. 

During this one-year period, new business names must still be distinguishable from names in "hold" status. If the canceled entity fails to reinstate within one year, the name becomes available for registration again.

Note that a canceled corporation or entity lacks the authority to conduct business and cannot provide consent for the use of a conflicting name. 

If your proposed business name conflicts with a name in "hold" status, you may consider registering a different name or waiting for the name to become available after the one-year period.

Trade Names and Trademarks

Ohio prohibits the registration of a trade name that implies incorporation when the applicant is not incorporated. 

Trade names must also be distinguishable from previously registered trademarks, service marks, and other business names. 

Trademarks and service marks, on the other hand, are registered without considering existing business names on record.

Not sure what to name your business? Check out our LLC Name Generator.

Registering Your Ohio Business Name

Whether you're prepared to launch your LLC or still in the planning phase, your next step is to either reserve it or register it with your LLC’s Articles of Organization.

Register Your Ohio LLC Name

Registering your LLC name in Ohio is a relatively straightforward task. Your business name becomes officially registered when you file the Ohio Articles of Organization. This critical document marks the formal establishment of your business in the state.

The Ohio Secretary of State's website provides detailed instructions on how to fill out the form and pay the necessary state filing fee.

Keep in mind: Utilizing a professional LLC formation service can simplify the process by handling the registration of your LLC name and the establishment of your LLC. To learn more, refer to our Best LLC Services review.

Reserve Your Ohio Business Entity Name

To reserve a business name, you must file an application online or by mail. When reserving your name, you will have to pay a filing fee. Checks must be made out to the “Secretary of State.” 2-day, 1-day, and 4-hour expedited services are also available.

After choosing a name for your LLC, take the next step and create a unique logo with our Free Logo Generator.

Ohio Name Reservation Form

File Online with the State of Ohio

File Online

- OR -

File by Mail

Download Form

Fee: $39 (standard), $100 (2-day), $200 (1-day), $300 (4-hour)

Mail to:

P.O. Box 670
Columbus, OH 43216

Considering Using an LLC Formation Service?

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Other Considerations

While reserving the name for your Ohio 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 Trademark and Social Media search for your name to see if it's available for use across the internet. This will help ensure you have full, unrestricted use of your business name.

Trademark Search

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: 

  • Search Ohio’s trademark records 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. You can do this by simply searching your business name on each major site, or use a tool such as Namecheckr to search across all platforms at once.

Bottom Line

Having a name for your business is an important first step for creating a successful LLC, and one that is incredibly easy to do. Once you have found your preferred name using Ohio's Business Entity 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 Name Reservation Form will help you stand out from the competition. With your name secured, you will be ready to take the next steps to formalize your LLC.

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What's Next?

Now that you have your name, it's time to take the next steps to establish your LLC. Check out our full guide on how to form an LLC in Ohio, where we can guide you every step of the way.

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To perform an LLC name search in Ohio, you can visit the Ohio Secretary of State's online business search portal. Use their search tool to enter your desired LLC name and review the results to ensure that the name is available and not already registered by another business entity.

Conducting an LLC name search in Ohio is important to ensure that your chosen name is unique and distinguishable from other registered entities. This step helps avoid potential legal conflicts, trademark infringement issues, and confusion among consumers.

It is recommended to conduct an LLC name search in Ohio during the early stages of forming your LLC. If a significant amount of time has passed since your last search and you haven't registered the name yet, it's advisable to perform a new search before proceeding with registration.

In Ohio, your LLC name must be distinguishable from other registered entities, and it should include the words "Limited Liability Company," "LLC," or "L.L.C." It should also avoid using words that could mislead the public or imply a purpose it does not serve.

Yes, once you have confirmed the availability of your desired LLC name through the Ohio LLC name search, you can reserve it by filing an Application for Name Reservation with the Ohio Secretary of State and paying the required fee. The reservation is valid for 180 days.