Whether you’re searching for the right business name for your Michigan S Corporation or Michigan C Corporation, we can help. We’ve got all the information you need on how to conduct a Michigan LARA 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.
The name you select cannot be claimed by any other business in the state. This is why it's so important to perform a Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs corporation search before you begin your incorporation paperwork.
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.
- Definite 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.
All Corporations must use one of the following in their names, usually at the end of the name: “Incorporated,” “Corporation,” “Limited” or their abbreviations.
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, Michigan Department of Labor, Michigan 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 Michigan Business Names
In addition to the general rules listed above, you'll need to follow some Michigan Corporation laws that apply to naming your business.
For example, per the state's Business Corporation Act Chapter 450, Act 284, §§ 450.1211:
- "A corporation formed or existing under or subject to this act other than a bank holding company registered or to be registered as a bank holding company under the bank holding company act of 1956, chapter 240, 70 Stat. 133, shall not assume a name that implies that it is a banking corporation, an insurance or surety company, or a trust company, and the corporation shall not use the word "bank", "industrial bank", "deposit", "surety", "security", "trust", or "trust company" in its corporate name or use a combination of the letters or words with other letters or words in its corporate name to indicate or convey the idea of a bank or banking or industrial banking activity or security unless from the other words constituting the name it is clear that the business conducted does not include the business of banking."
Coming Up with the Ideal Business Name
The perfect business name can be tough to choose. We have a complete guide to finding the right business name, but essentially, you'll want to choose a name that will:
Need help coming up with business name ideas? Try our free name generator.
Michigan Corporation Name Search
Once you have an idea of the name you want, perform a Michigan business corporation search to make sure another company isn't already using that name.
You can use the state's online portal 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.
Trademarks and Service Marks
You must be careful that your Michigan 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.
Register a DBA in Michigan
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 Michigan. You may decide to use an assumed name for a variety of reasons.
For example, your primary business may be called Big Lake Hospitality, Inc., and you have a chain called Big Lake Tours. You could register an assumed name just for that brand. You'd do that with the Assumed Name Certificate 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 Your Business Name with the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA)
You’ve performed a Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs 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.