If you’re searching for the right business name for your Florida C Corporation, we can help. We’ve got all the information you need on how to conduct a Florida Department of State business search, plus business naming rules, fictitious names and trademarks.
General Rules for Corporation Names
These rules generally apply to all corporations, wherever they're formed.
The name you select cannot be in use by any other business in the state. This is why it's so important to perform a Florida Department of State corporation search before you begin your incorporation paperwork.
It’s not enough for your corporation name to be unique. It also cannot be similar 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.
- 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.
All corporations must use one of the following in their names, usually at the end of the name: “Incorporated,” “Corporation,” “Limited” or their abbreviations.
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, Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, Florida Patrol, 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 Florida Business Names
In addition to the general rules listed above, you'll need to follow some Florida corporation laws that apply to naming your business.
For example, per the state's Corporation Code § 607.0401:
A corporate name:
Coming Up with the Ideal Business Name
Finding the perfect business name can be difficult. We have a complete guide to choosing the right business name, but essentially, you'll want to choose a name that will:
Need help coming up with business name ideas? Try our free name generator.
Florida Corporation Name Search
Once you have an idea of the name you want, perform a Florida business lookup to make sure another company isn't already using that name.
You can use the FL Department of State's business search engine to perform a name search.
You can also use our simple and convenient Business Name Search tool, which will search the state's business registry for you.
Trademarks and Service Marks
You must be careful that your Florida 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.
Register a DBA in Florida
You may do business under a name different from your corporation's legal name. While many states refer to this as an assumed name, trade name or "doing business as" (DBA), it's a fictitious name in Florida. You may decide to use a fictitious name for a variety of reasons.
For example, your primary business may be called Sunshine Hospitality, Inc., and you have a chain called Sunshine Events and Catering. You could register a fictitious name just for that brand. You'd do that with by registering your fictitious name with the Department of State, Division of Corporations, or you can have Incfile do it on your behalf with our DBA service.
In order to keep your business names unique, you can also use the Florida business entity search. You can perform a Florida fictitious name search to find out whether any other companies are already using the fictitious 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 Your Business Name with the Florida Secretary of State
You’ve performed a Florida Department of State Corporation search, checked availability, followed the naming rules and determined whether you need a fictitious name. Now you can register your corporation name in one of two ways.