Whether you’re searching for the right business name or registering your LLC with the Kentucky Secretary of State (KY SOS), we can help. We’ve got all the information you need on conducting a Kentucky business search, LLC naming rules, assumed names and how to register your business.
General Rules for LLC Names
These rules typically apply to all LLCs, no matter what state they’re formed in.
The business name you've chosen cannot be used by any other LLC or corporation in the State of Kentucky. This is why it's imperative to perform a KY SOS business search before you begin the filing process.
It’s not enough for your LLC name to be unique. It also cannot be similar to the name of a corporation or LLC in Kentucky. In addition, you cannot use the following factors to say your name is different from the name 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.
All LLCs must have the words “Limited Liability Company,” “L.L.C.” or “LLC” in their names, normally at the end of the name.
Most states will not allow you to form LLCs with names that:
- Are very similar to the name of a federal or state agency or organization (e.g., FBI, FDA, Kentucky Treasurer, Kentucky Police, Department of Revenue, 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 Kentucky Business Names
In addition to the general rules listed above, Kentucky has some specific business naming guidelines. You’ll need to follow these rules if you want to name your KY business appropriately. Here is an excerpt:
Accepted Characters of Print: A business entity name may contain only the following types of letters, numbers, and other typographical figures and symbols:
How to Come Up with a Business Name
Finding the perfect business name can be tricky. We have a complete guide to choosing the right business name, but basically, you'll want to choose a name that will:
Need help coming up with business name ideas? Try our free Business Name Generator.
Kentucky Business Search
Once you have an idea of the business name you’d like to use, you’ll need to perform a KY Secretary of State business search to make sure another business isn't already using that name.
Incfile offers a fast, simple and convenient tool to look up your proposed business name. The KY SOS also has a tool that allows you to search the Kentucky business registry to see whether someone has claimed your desired business name.
Trademarks and Service Marks
You must be careful that your Kentucky LLC name doesn’t infringe on the trademark or service mark of another business. The easiest way to make sure your proposed business name doesn’t do that is to complete a trademark search through Incfile. If no one else is using it, you can even register it as a trademark yourself.
Kentucky DBA or Assumed Name
You may do business under a different name from your legal LLC name. In some states, this is called a DBA (doing business as), trade name or fictitious name. In Kentucky, it’s known as an assumed name. You may decide to use an assumed name for a variety of reasons.
For example, your LLC might be called Kentucky Liquor Holding Company, LLC, and your main product is called Bluegrass Bourbon. You could file for an assumed name just for that product. In Kentucky, you'd do that with the Certificate of Assumed Name form. You’re also required to file a copy of the form with the county clerk where the LLC is located. Or you can simply have Incfile do it on your behalf through our Assumed 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 Kentucky Secretary of State
Once you’ve completed a Kentucky business entity search, checked availability, followed the naming rules and decided whether you need an assumed name, you can register your LLC name. There are a couple of ways to do this.