Whether you’re searching for the perfect business name for your Illinois S Corporation or Illinois C Corporation, we can help. We’ve got all the information you need on how to conduct an Illinois SOS business search, plus business naming rules, assumed 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 choose cannot be in use by any other business in the state. This is why it's so important to perform an Illinois Secretary of State corporation search before you begin your incorporation paperwork.

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

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.
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, Illinois Department of Labor, Illinois 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 Illinois Business Names

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

For example, per the state's Business Corporations Act 805 ILCS 5/4.05:

The name of a corporation or foreign corporation must contain:

  • Shall contain, separate and apart from any other word or abbreviation in such name, the word "corporation", "company", "incorporated", or "limited", or an abbreviation of one of such words

In addition, some words are restricted by the Illinois Business Corporations Act 805 ILCS 5/4.05:

  • "...shall not contain any word or phrase which indicates or implies that the corporation (i) is authorized or empowered to conduct the business of insurance, assurance, indemnity, or the acceptance of savings deposits; (ii) is authorized or empowered to conduct the business of banking unless otherwise permitted by the Commissioner of Banks and Real Estate pursuant to Section 46 of the Illinois Banking Act; or (iii) is authorized or empowered to be in the business of a corporate fiduciary unless otherwise permitted by the Commissioner of Banks and Real Estate under Section 1-9 of the Corporate Fiduciary Act. The word "trust", "trustee", or "fiduciary" may be used by a corporation only if it has first complied with Section 1-9 of the Corporate Fiduciary Act. The word "bank", "banker" or "banking" may only be used by a corporation if it has first complied with Section 46 of the Illinois Banking Act..."

Coming Up with the Ideal Business Name

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:

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.

Illinois Corporation Name Search

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

You can use the Secretary of State's website 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.

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

Trademarks and Service Marks

You must be careful that your Illinois 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 Illinois

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

For example, your primary business may be called Great Lake Hospitality, Inc., and you have a chain called Great Lake Tours. You could register an assumed name just for that brand. You'd do that with the Application to Adopt Assumed Name form, or you can have Incfile do it on your behalf with our DBA service.

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

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

Register Your Business Name with the Illinois Secretary of State (SOS)

You’ve performed an Illinois Secretary of State Corporation search, checked availability, followed the naming rules and determined whether you need an assumed 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 an Application for Reservation of Name form and filing it with the Illinois SOS. The name will be reserved for 90 days. If you're starting your business right away, you won't need to reserve a name.

2

If you’re ready to start your corporation, you can indicate the business name you chose when you file your Articles of Incorporation with the Illinois SOS. Or you can have Incfile do this for you.

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

Create a Corporation in Illinois for $0 + State Fee ($175)

FAQs About Naming Your Corporation in Illinois

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 Illinois?

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

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

Yes. You can conduct business under an assumed name. Details are above.

Can I Reserve a Name for My Corporation in Illinois?

Yes. The Illinois SOS allows you to reserve a name for 90 days 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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