Whether you’re searching for the right business name for your Alabama S Corporation or Alabama C Corporation, we can help. We’ve got all the information you need on how to conduct an Alabama SOS business search, plus business naming rules, trade names and trademarks.

 

General Rules for Corporation Names

These rules generally apply to all corporations, wherever they're formed.

1
Your Corporation Name Must Be Unique

The name you select cannot be used by any other business in the state. This is why it's so important to perform an Alabama Secretary of State corporation search before you begin your incorporation paperwork.

2
Your LLC Name Must Not Be Confusable with Another Business Name

It’s not enough for your corporation name to be unique. It also cannot be comparable to the name of another business in the state. In addition, you cannot use any of the following features in an attempt to differentiate your corporation name from that of another business:

  • Suffixes, such as Corporation, Company, Incorporated, Incorporation, Limited, Corp., Co., Inc., etc.
  • Definite articles, such as “A,” “An” or “The”
  • The conjunction "And" or “&"
  • Numbers in place of numerals (or vice versa), e.g., "One World" is the same as "1 World"
  • The singular, plural or possessive forms of words
  • Abbreviations, punctuation, symbols, fonts, typefaces, etc.
3
Your Corporation Name Must Contain Certain Words

All corporations must use one of the following in their names, usually at the end of the name: “Incorporated,” “Corporation,” “Limited” or their abbreviations.

4
Your Corporation Name May Be Subject to Other General Restrictions

Most states will not allow you to incorporate with names that:

  • Are similar to the name of a federal or state agency or organization (e.g., FBI, FDA, Alabama Department of Labor, Alabama Rangers, Treasury, etc.)
  • Suggest affiliation with a federal or state agency or organization
  • Use the term “Olympic” or any terms that are trademarks of the International Olympic Committee
  • Imply a purpose that would be illegal for your business to carry out

Specific Rules for Alabama Business Names

In addition to the general rules listed above, you'll need to follow some Alabama corporation laws that apply to naming your business.

For example, per the state's business code Title 10A, Chapter 1, Article 5, Subsection 4:

The name of a corporation or foreign corporation must contain:

  • the word "corporation" or "incorporated"
  • an abbreviation of one of those words

In addition, some words are restricted by Alabama business code Title 10A, Chapter 1, Article 5, Subsection 3:

A domestic entity may not have a name and a foreign filing entity may not register to transact business in this state under a name that is the same as or not distinguishable on the records of the Secretary of State from:

  • the name of another existing filing entity or a general partnership that has an effective statement of partnership, statement of not for profit partnership, or limited liability partnership under Chapter 8A
  • the name of a foreign filing entity that has a registration under Article 7
  • a name that is reserved under Division B

Subsection (a) does not apply if the other entity or the person for whom the name is reserved consents in writing to the use of a name not distinguishable on the records of the Secretary of State, and submits an undertaking in form satisfactory to the Secretary of State to change its name to a name that is distinguishable on the records of the Secretary of State from the name for which application was made.

In determining whether a name is the same as or not distinguishable on the records of the Secretary of State from the name of another entity, words, phrases, or abbreviations indicating the type of entity, such as "corporation," "corp.," "general partnership," "GP," "G.P.," "not for profit general partnership," "NGP," "N.G.P.," "incorporated," "Inc.," "limited liability company," "LLC," "L.L.C.," "limited partnership," "LP," "L.P.," "Ltd.," "limited liability limited partnership," "LLLP," "L.L.L.P.," "limited liability partnership," "LLP," or "L.L.P." shall not be taken into account unless waived in writing by the incumbent holder of the name.

Coming Up with the Ideal Business Name

The perfect business name can be difficult to find. We have a complete guide to choosing the right business name, but essentially, you'll want to choose a name that will:

Appeal to your customers

Be memorable enough to stand out

Best represent your product or services

Not be used by another business

Need help coming up with business name ideas? Try our free name generator.

Alabama Corporation Name Search

Once you have an idea of the name you want, perform an Alabama business lookup to make sure another company isn't already using that name.

You can use the state's online portal to perform a name search, or you can also use our simple and convenient Business Name Search tool, which will search the state's business registry for you.

Use Incfile’s free tool to find out whether your preferred name is available for your corporation in Alabama

Trademarks and Service Marks

You must be careful that your Alabama corporation name doesn't infringe on the trademark or service mark of another business. The easiest way to ensure you're not infringing is to perform a trademark search through Incfile. If the trademark isn't already in use, you can even register it yourself.

Make sure your corporation is starting off on the right foot when it comes to intellectual property.

Let Incfile run a trademark search for you.

 

Register a DBA in Alabama

You may do business under a name different from your corporation's legal name. While many states refer to this as an assumed name, fictitious name or "doing business as" (DBA), it's a trade name in Alabama. You may decide to use a trade name for a variety of reasons.

For example, your primary business may be called Southern Hospitality, Inc., and you have a chain called Southern Country Tours. You could register a trade name just for that brand. You'd do that by filing a form with the Secretary of State, or you can have Incfile do it on your behalf with our DBA service.

You can perform an Alabama DBA name search to find out whether any other companies are already using the trade name you want. We can also help you with this via our DBA name service.

Note: A trade name is not the same as a trademark. Learn more about trademark vs. DBA.

Register and manage a DBA or trade name through our easy-to-use service
 

Register Your Business Name with the Alabama SOS

You’ve performed an Alabama Secretary of State corporation search, checked availability, followed the naming rules and determined whether you need a trade name. Now you can register your corporation name in one of two ways.

1

If you don’t want to form your corporation right away, you can reserve the business name. You'll do this by completing a Name Reservation Request form and filing it with the Alabama SOS. The name will be reserved for 365 days. If you're starting your business right away, you don't need to reserve a name.

2

If you’re ready to start your corporation, you can indicate your chosen business name when you file your Certificate of Formation with the Alabama Secretary of State. Or you can have Incfile do this for you.

Incfile can handle all your Alabama corporation formation paperwork for you — and we’ll do it for free!

Create a Corporation in Alabama for $0 + State Fee ($208)

FAQs About Naming Your Corporation in Alabama

How Do I Find an Available Corporation Name?

Use our free Business Name Search tool and enter your chosen business name. You can also perform a search of the state's registry, which will tell you whether any other corporations or LLCs in the state are already using that name.

Are There Any Rules for Naming My Corporation in Alabama?

Yes. Most corporations will be bound by general rules (applicable to all corporations) and specific rules (applicable in the state of Alabama). We’ve detailed these rules above.

Can I Do Business Under a Name Different from My Corporation in Alabama?

Yes. You can conduct business under a trade name. Details are above.

Can I Reserve a Name for My Corporation in Alabama?

Yes. The Alabama SOS allows you to reserve a name if you're not ready to start your business immediately. Details are above. If you do want to start your business right away, you don't need to reserve a name.

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