Naming Your Iowa Limited Liability Company
You need the right name for your Iowa LLC. Choosing the right name is vital because it tells your suppliers, customers and employees what your business does. Iowa has several rules and regulations about what you can call your new business. Let’s explore what they are.
General Iowa Secretary of State Rules on Naming Your LLC
- The name needs to be unique and not used by another LLC or business operating in Iowa
- The name of a limited liability company in Iowa must contain the words “limited liability company” or “limited company” or the abbreviation “L. L. C.,” “LLC,” “L. C.” or “LC”
- “Limited” may be abbreviated as “Ltd.” and “company” may be abbreviated as “Co.”
Don't Pick a Business Name that Can be Confused With Another Company
- The following terms can’t be used to say your business name is different from another business name:
- Suffixes, such as Corporation, Company, Incorporated, Incorporation, Limited, Corp., Co., Inc., Ltd., LLC
- 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 Iowa business
- For example, you can’t claim that Blue Widget Co., Blue Widget LLC, Blue Widget Incorporated, Blue-Widget-Company or Blue Widget are different from one another
Other Iowa Information on Naming an LLC
- You can reserve a name. Please note that you do not need to reserve a name if you are forming an LLC. By registering an LLC, the name will automatically be reserved for your business. You would normally only reserve a name if you are not planning on forming your new company anytime soon.
- A name can be used to form any type of business entity, not just an LLC.
- Just filing a name registration doesn’t guarantee you will be granted the name. You should wait until your LLC is formally created before using the name for anything else.
“Doing Business As (DBA)” Names
You can be an Iowa LLC with a different “doing business as” name. In Iowa these are known as “fictitious names," and they need to be registered with the Secretary of State. Learn about these types of names in other states.
Rules About Infringing on Service Marks or Trademarks Inside or Outside Iowa
In addition to the rules above, it’s also vital to see if your Iowa LLC name might infringe on the trademark or service mark of another business. For example, it might not be a good idea to call yourself “Google Search Optimization Services,” since Google 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 Iowa business entity name cannot be substantially similar to an existing trademark or service mark.
How to Search for Your Iowa Business Entity Name
Search the database of the Iowa Secretary of State for your proposed business name to see if it's unique. You can search for:
- Entity Name
- Entity Number
So What Should You Call Your Iowa LLC?
Finding the perfect name can be tough. You want a business name that:
- Describes what your Iowa 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’ve got some good advice on seeking out the perfect business name for your Iowa LLC. Check out our guidance on naming your LLC 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 Iowa LLC and form your LLC today.