Whether you’re searching for the right business name or registering your LLC with the North Dakota Secretary of State, Incfile can help. We have all the information you need to know on how to conduct a North Dakota business search, plus LLC naming rules, trade names and registering your business.
General Rules for LLC Names
These rules typically apply to all LLCs, regardless of what state they’re formed in.
Your preferred business name cannot be used by any other LLC or formed entity in the State of North Dakota. This is why it's imperative to perform a North Dakota business entity search prior to beginning the filing process.
Your LLC name should be original, but that’s not enough. It also cannot be similar to the name of a corporation or LLC in North Dakota. For example, you cannot use the following factors to say your name is different and distinguishable 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, North Dakota Comptroller, North Dakota 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 North Dakota Business Names
As mentioned above, North Dakota requires LLCs to comply with the general naming rules. Unlike most states, North Dakota does not require any further naming regulations to be met.
How to Come Up with a Business Name
Finding the perfect business name may be elusive. We have 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 Business Name Generator.
North Dakota Business Search
Once you have an idea of what you want as your business name, you’ll need to perform a North Dakota business entity search to make sure the name hasn’t been taken by another formed business.
Incfile offers a fast, simple and convenient tool to look up your proposed business name. The North Dakota Secretary of State also has a tool that lets you search the State of North Dakota business name registry to see whether your desired name is available or if another business is using your preferred name.
Trademarks and Service Marks
You must be careful that your North Dakota 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.
North Dakota DBA or Trade Name
You may do business under a different name from your legal LLC name. In several states, this is called a DBA (doing business as), assumed name or fictitious name. The state of North Dakota calls it a trade name. You may choose to use a North Dakota trade name for a variety of reasons.
For example, your business might be called Northern Marketing Solutions, LLC, and under that company, you have an event planning business called Northern Events. You could file for a trade name just for that company. You'll need to apply for Trade Name Registration with the North Dakota Secretary of State, or you can have Incfile do it on your behalf through 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 North Dakota Secretary of State (SOS)
Once you’ve completed a North Dakota business entity search, checked availability, followed the naming rules and decided whether you need a fictitious business name, you can register your LLC name. There are a couple of ways to do this.