Massachusetts Secretary of State Business Search and Registering Your LLC Name
We’re here to help you find the right business name for your Massachusetts LLC. From searching for a business name with the MA Corporations Division to understanding naming rules or creating a “Doing Business As” name to register your entity, you’re in the right place.
Conducting a Business Entity Search on the MA SOS Website
You should start naming your business by completing a “Massachusetts business entity search” with the Corporations Division. They have a helpful tool on their website that lets you search the register of MA LLCs and corporations to see if someone already has your desired business name.
If the business name is already used, that means it’s not available and you won’t be able to register it. Try searching for a different business name instead.
Massachusetts Corporations Division Rules for LLC Business Names
Once you’ve decided on a name for your LLC and checked business name availability, you’ll need to meet Massachusetts Corporations Division naming rules. These do vary from state to state — we’ve got general naming rules below, as well as naming rules specific to LLC businesses formed in MA.
General Rules for Naming Your LLC
These rules typically apply to all LLCs, no matter what state they are formed in. You will need to pay attention to these rules, as they will influence the name you choose for your Massachusetts LLC.
Your LLC Business Name Must Be Unique
The business name you have chosen cannot be used by any other LLC or corporation in the state of Massachusetts. This is why you should check business name availability on the MA Corporations Division website.
Your LLC Business Name Must Not Be Confusable With Another Business Name
It’s not enough for your MA LLC name to be unique. It also cannot be similar to the name of a corporation or LLC in Massachusetts. For example, 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 like “A,” “And,” “An,” “&,” “The,” etc.
- The singular, plural or possessive forms of a word
- Abbreviations, punctuation, symbols, fonts, typefaces, etc.
Your LLC Business Name Must Contain Certain Words
All LLCs must have the words “Limited Liability Company,” “L.L.C.” or “LLC” in their name. These words should normally come at the end of the name.
Your LLC Business Name May Have Other General Restrictions
Most states will not allow you to form LLCs with names that:
- Are very similar to the name of a federal or MA agency or organization (e.g., FBI, FDA, Massachusetts Department of Revenue, Massachusetts Police, Treasury, etc.)
- Suggest affiliation with a federal or state agency or organization
- Use the term “Olympic” or any terms that are trademarks of the Olympic organization
- Imply a purpose that it would be illegal for your business to carry out
DBA/Fictitious Business Names in Massachusetts
You might choose to do business under a different name from your legal LLC name. In Massachusetts, doing business under a different name is known as a “Fictitious Name” or a DBA (”Doing Business As”) name. You might choose to use a different name from your MA formal LLC name for a variety of reasons.
For example, your LLC might be called Massachusetts Bioscience Holding Company LLC, and you have a specialized service called “Genetic Medicine Research Services.” You should file a Fictitious Name to let the Massachusetts Corporations Division know.Incfile's fictitious business name service
Register Your Massachusetts LLC Business Name
Once you’ve searched for your Massachusetts business name, checked availability, followed the naming rules and decided whether you need a Fictitious Name, you can register your MA LLC name. There are a couple of ways to do this.
- If you don’t want to form your Massachusetts LLC right now, you can reserve the business name with the Massachusetts Corporations Division. You do not need to reserve a name if you are forming your business right away. Massachusetts Corporations Division LLC name reservation
- If you’re ready to start your Massachusetts LLC, you can formally file your Certificate of Organization with the Massachusetts Corporations Division, or let Incfile take care of it for you.
FAQs on Naming Your Massachusetts LLC
You might find the following answers useful.
Just go to the business name search tool and enter your proposed business name. You can search the register of the Massachusetts Corporations Division, which will tell you if there are any MA corporations or LLCs with that name.
Yes. Most LLCs will be bound by naming rules; we’ve detailed these rules for MA above.
Yes. Known as “Assumed Names,” “Fictitious Names,” “Doing Business As names” or “Trade Names,” you can choose to conduct business under a different name. Details are above.
Yes. The Massachusetts Corporations Division allows you to reserve a name if you don’t want to start your business immediately. Details are above. If you are ready to start your business now, you do not need to reserve a name.
Useful Resources for Naming Your Massachusetts LLC
You might find these other resources helpful.
Trademarks and Service Marks
You must be careful that your Massachusetts LLC name does not infringe on the trademark or service mark of another business. The easiest way to make sure your proposed business name does not infringe is to carry out a trademark search through Incfile. If it doesn’t infringe, you can even register it as a trademark yourself.Incfile Trademark Search and Registration Service
Find the Perfect Name for Your Massachusetts LLC
The perfect business name can be elusive. We have a complete guide to choosing the right business name, but basically, 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