Whether you’re searching for the right business name or registering your LLC name with the GA Secretary of State, we can help. We’ve got all the information you need on how to conduct a Georgia business search, plus business naming rules, assumed names and trademarks.
The business name you select cannot be in use by any other corporation or LLC in the state. This is why it's so important to perform a Georgia Secretary of State business search before beginning your formation paperwork.
It’s not enough for your LLC name to be unique. It also cannot be similar to the name of another LLC or corporation in the state. In addition, you cannot use any of the following features in an attempt to differentiate your business name from that of another business:
- Suffixes, such as Corporation, Company, Incorporated, Incorporation, Limited, Corp., Co., Inc., Ltd., LLC, etc.
- Definite articles, such as “A,” “An,” or “The”
- The conjunction "And," or “&"
- The singular, plural or possessive forms of words
- Abbreviations, punctuation, symbols, fonts, typefaces, etc.
Also, you cannot abbreviate or spell out the state to differentiate from another company's name. For example, you cannot name your company "GA Auto Sales, LLC," to differ from an existing business named "Georgia Auto Sales, LLC," or vice versa.
All LLCs must use one of the following in their names, usually at the end of the names: “Limited Liability Company,” “L.L.C.” or “LLC.”
Most states will not allow you to form LLCs with names that:
- Are similar to the name of a federal or state agency or organization (e.g., FBI, FDA, Georgia State Patrol, Georgia Department of Revenue, 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 Georgia Business Name Rules
In addition to the general rules listed above, you'll need to follow some Georgia LLC laws that apply to naming your business. For example, some words are restricted without written approval from certain state agencies:
Use of the following terms in an entity name requires the written approval of the Office of Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner: "insurance," "assurance," "surety," "fidelity," "reinsurance," "reassurance," or "indemnity."
Use of the following terms or any variation of the word "bank" in an entity name requires the written approval of the Department of Banking and Finance: "bank," "banc," "banque," "banker," "banking company," "banking house," "bancorp," "bankruptcy," "bancshares," "bankshares," "credit union," "savings & loan", "trust," or "trust company."
Use of the following terms in an entity name requires the written approval of the Georgia Nonpublic Postsecondary Education Commission: "college" or "university."
The Art of Naming Your Business
The perfect business name can be elusive. 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.
Georgia Business Entity Search
Once you’ve narrowed it down to a few name options, the next step is to complete a GA Secretary of State business search to make sure another company isn't already using that name.
You can use the state's online portal to perform a GA SOS business search. You can also use our simple and convenient Business Name Search Tool, which will search the Georgia business registry for you.
Trademarks and Service Marks
You must be careful that your Georgia LLC 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.
Georgia DBA or Fictitious Name
You may do business under a name different from your LLC's legal name. While many states refer to this as a trade name, assumed name or "doing business as" (DBA), Georgia calls it a fictitious name, though in some cases, "trade name" is also used. You may decide to use a Georgia fictitious name for a variety of reasons.
For example, your LLC might be called Georgia Orchards, LLC, and you have a chain called The Peach Pit Stop. You could register a fictitious name just for that brand.
You must register a Georgia fictitious name with the Clerk of Superior Court of the county where your business is located. Per state law, you must also publish a notice of your trade name registration "in the paper in which the sheriff's advertisements are printed once a week for two weeks."
You can also have Incfile register your Georgia fictitious name on your behalf with our DBA service.
First, though, perform a Georgia fictitious name search via the GA Secretary of State website to make sure no other company in the state is using the name.
Important: Incfile can register your DBA, but we do not fulfill the newspaper notice publication requirement. You'll need to manage that to comply with the law.
Note: A trade name is not the same as a trademark. Learn more about trademark vs. DBA.
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