Whether you’re searching for the right business name for your Ohio S Corp or Ohio C Corp, we can help. We’ve got all the information you need on how to conduct an OH Secretary of State business search, plus business naming rules, trade 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 Ohio State corporation search before you begin your incorporation paperwork.
It’s not enough for your corporation name to be distinct. 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, Ohio Labor Law, Ohio 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 Ohio Business Names
In addition to the general rules listed above, you'll need to follow some Ohio Revised Code (ORC) corporation laws that apply to naming your business.
For example, per the state's ORC Title 17, Chapter 1701, § 1701.05, the name of a corporation "shall end with or include the word or abbreviation "company," "co.," "corporation," "corp.," "incorporated," or "inc."
Coming Up with the Ideal Business Name
The perfect business name can 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 name generator.
Ohio Corporation Name Search
Once you've thought of the name you want, perform an OH corporation search to make sure another company isn't already using that name.
You can use the state's business search resource 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 cautious that your Ohio 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 Ohio
You may do business under a name different from your corporation's legal name. While many states refer to this as an assumed name, fictitious name or "doing business as" (DBA), it's a trade name in Ohio. You may decide to use a trade name for a variety of reasons.
For example, your primary business may be called Big Rock Landscaping, and you have a chain called Big Rock Snow Removal. You could register a trade name just for that brand. You'd do that by filing a form with the Secretary of State, 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 Ohio business entity search. You can perform an Ohio trade name search to find out whether any other companies are already using the trade 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 Ohio Secretary of State (SOS)
You’ve performed an Ohio SOS business search, checked availability, followed the naming rules and determined whether you need a trade name. Now you can register your corporation name in one of two ways.