Whether you’re searching for the right Michigan business name or registering your LLC with the Michigan LARA, we can help. We’ve got all the information you need on how to perform a business entity search in Michigan, LLC naming rules, assumed names and registering 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 have chosen cannot be used by any other LLC or corporation in the State of Michigan. This is why it's imperative to perform a business entity search in Michigan before you file to create your LLC.
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 Michigan. To that end, you cannot use any of the following factors to differentiate your name from that 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 a word
- Abbreviations, punctuation, symbols, fonts, typefaces, etc.
All LLCs must have the words “Limited Liability Company” or the abbreviation “L.L.C.” or “LLC” in their names, usually at the end of the business 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, Michigan Comptroller, Michigan 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 International Olympic Committee
- Imply a purpose that would be illegal for your business to carry out
Specific Rules for Michigan Business Names
The naming rules required by the Michigan Limited Liability Company Act closely follow the general guidelines all LLCs must adhere to.
How to Come Up with a Business Name
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:
Need help coming up with business name ideas? Try Incfile’s free Business Name Generator.
Michigan Business Entity Search
Once you have an idea of the business name you’d like to use, you’ll need to complete a Michigan business entity search to ensure no other business in the state is already using your chosen name.
Incfile offers a fast, simple and convenient tool to look up your proposed business name. The Michigan LARA also offers a tool you can use to search the Michigan business registry to see whether someone has claimed your desired business name.
If the business name is already in use, you won’t be able to claim it. Try searching for a different business name instead.
Note: While many states administer business creation and management through the Secretary of State office, the Michigan LARA is the organization that handles it in that state. If you’re looking to perform a Michigan Secretary of State business search, you’ll need to use the LARA’s business search tool.
Trademarks and Service Marks
You must be careful that your Michigan LLC name doesn’t infringe on the service mark or trademark of another business. The easiest way to make sure your proposed business name doesn’t engage in such a violation is to perform a trademark search through Incfile. If it's not in use, you may register it as a trademark yourself.
Michigan DBA or Assumed Name
You can do business under a different name from your legal LLC name. In some states, this is called a DBA (doing business as), fictitious name or trade name. In Michigan, it's called an assumed name. You might choose to use an assumed name for a variety of reasons.
For example, your LLC might be called Michigan Tourism Holding Company, LLC, and you have a chain called Great Lakes Hiking Tours. You should file an assumed name to let the Michigan LARA know. You'll do that with the Certificate of Assumed Name form, or you can 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 Michigan LARA
Once you’ve completed a Michigan business search, checked availability, followed the naming rules and decided whether you need an assumed business name, you can register your LLC name. There are a couple of ways to do this.