Whether you’re searching for the perfect business name for your Missouri S Corp or Missouri C Corp, we can help. We’ve got all the information you need on how to conduct an MO Secretary of State business search, plus business naming rules, fictitious 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 used by any other business in the state. This is why it's so important to perform a Missouri State 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, Missouri Department of Labor, Missouri 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 Missouri Business Names
Unlike many states, Missouri doesn't require corporations to follow any additional naming rules other than the ones listed above. Simply follow the one rule that states, "The name of every Missouri for-profit corporation must contain the word "corporation," "company," "incorporated" or "limited" or end with an abbreviation of one of those words."
Coming Up with the Ideal Business Name
The perfect business name may be elusive. Incfile has a complete guide to choosing 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.
Missouri Corporation Name Search
Once you have an idea of your desired name, perform an MO corporation search to make sure another company isn't already using that name.
You can use the state's business entity search to check for name availability.
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 Missouri 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.
Let Incfile run a trademark search for you.
Register a DBA in Missouri
You may do business under a name different from your corporation's legal name. While many states refer to this as a trade name, assumed name or "doing business as" (DBA), it's a fictitious name in Missouri. You may decide to use a fictitious name for a variety of reasons.
For example, your primary business may be called Grocers Retail, Inc., and you have a chain called Grocers Produce. You could register a fictitious name just for that brand. You'd do that by filing a form for a Registration of Fictitious Name, or you can have Incfile do it on your behalf with our DBA service.
In order to keep your business names unique, you can also use the Missouri business entity search. You can perform a Missouri fictitious name search to find out whether any other companies are already using the fictitious name you want. We can also help you with this via our DBA 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 MO Secretary of State (SOS)
You’ve performed a Missouri SOS business search, checked availability, followed the naming rules and determined whether you need a fictitious name. Now you can register your corporation name in one of two ways.
Incorporate in Missouri for $0 + State Fee ($58)
FAQs About Naming Your Missouri Corporation
Use our free Business Name Search Tool and enter your chosen business name. You can also perform a search of the state's registry, which will tell you whether any other corporations or LLCs in the state are already using that name.
Yes. Most corporations will be bound by general rules (applicable to all corporations) and specific rules (applicable in the state of Missouri). We’ve detailed these rules above.
Yes. You can conduct business under a fictitious name. Details are above.
Yes. The MO Secretary of State allows you to reserve a name if you're not ready to start your business immediately. Details are above. If you do want to start your business right away, you don't need to reserve a name.