Naming Your Illinois Corporation
You need the right name for your Illinois corporation. Choosing the right name is vital because it tells your suppliers, customers and employees what your business does. Illinois has several rules and regulations about what you can call your new business. Let’s explore what they are.
General Illinois Secretary of State Rules on Naming Your Corporation
- The name of your corporation needs to be unique and not used by another corporation or business operating in Illinois
- The name cannot be confused with any other business operating in Illinois
- The name of your business must end with “Corporation,” “Incorporated” or “Limited”
- These suffixes can be abbreviated
- If you’re not forming the business right away, you can reserve the name.
Don't Confuse Your Illinois Corporation Name With Another Business Name
- The following terms can’t be used to say your business name is different from another business name:
- Suffixes like Corporation, Company, Incorporated, Incorporation, Limited, Corp., Co., Inc., Ltd., corporation
- Definite articles like “A,” “And,” “An,” “&,” “The,” etc.
- The singular, plural or possessive forms of a word
- Punctuation and symbols
- Abbreviations of words
- Different typefaces, fonts, superscript, subscript, etc.
- It should not be possible to confuse the name of your business with the name of another Illinois business
- For example, you can’t claim that Purple People Co., Purple People Corporation, Purple People Incorporated, Purple People Corp. or Purple People are different from one another.
Rules on Words You Can’t Use in Your Business Name
- Language stating/implying that the corporation will conduct the business of:
- Insurance, assurance, indemnity or the acceptance of savings deposits
- Banking, unless otherwise allowed by the Commissioner of Banks and Real Estate
- A corporate fiduciary, unless otherwise allowed by the Corporate Fiduciary Act
- The Illinois corporation name can’t suggest affiliation with any federal or state government entity or agency.
- You can also be an Illinois corporation with a different “doing business as” name. In Illinois these are known as “assumed names” and need to be registered with the Secretary of State. Learn about DBA names in your state.
Illinois Information on Naming a Corporation
- You can reserve a name. Please note that you do not need to reserve a name if you are forming a corporation right away.
- By registering a corporation, the name will automatically be held for your business. You would normally only reserve a name if you are not planning on forming the new company anytime soon.
- A name can be used to form any type of business entity, not just a corporation.
- Just filing a name registration doesn’t guarantee you will be granted the name. You should wait until your corporation is legally formed before using the name for anything else.
- You might also want to use a “Doing Business As (DBA)” or “Assumed Name” if you are trading under a different name than your official company name.
Rules on Infringing on Service Marks or Trademarks Inside or Outside Illinois
In addition to the rules above, it’s also vital to see if your Illinois corporation name might infringe on the trademark or service mark of another business. For example, it might not be a good idea to call yourself “General Electric Research Services,” since General Electric is a trademark.
The easiest way to see if your proposed business name infringes is to carry out a trademark search. You can do that via the United States Patent and Trademark Office, or Incfile can help you protect your business with our new Trademark Search and Registration service. You should also bear in mind that your Illinois business entity name cannot be substantially similar to an existing trademark or service mark.
What Should You Call Your Illinois corporation?
Finding the perfect name can be tough. You want a business name that:
- Describes what your Illinois business does
- Appeals to your planned audience
- Makes your business easy to find
- Is relatively unique
- Doesn’t limit you to a particular location or type of product or service
Fortunately, we have some good advice on seeking out the perfect business name for your Illinois corporation. Check out our guidance on naming your business and get inspired.
You’ve Found the Perfect Name, What Next?
Once you’ve found the right name for your business, it’s time to make it a reality. Check out our packages for starting your Illinois corporation and form either an S Corporation or a C Corporation today.