Naming Your Ohio Limited Liability Company
You need the right name for your Ohio LLC. Choosing the right name is vital because it tells your suppliers, customers and employees what your business does. Ohio has several rules and regulations about what you can call your new business. Let’s explore what they are.
General Ohio Secretary of State Rules on Naming Your LLC
- The name needs to be unique and not used by another LLC or business operating in Ohio
- You can use the following characters in the company name:
- Letters of the English/American alphabet
- Arabic numbers (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 0)
- Roman numbers (I, II, IV, V, X, C, etc.)
- Symbols (!, @, #, $, %, &, *, (,), -, +, =, “, ‘)
- The name of your Ohio business must end with “Limited Liability Company,” “L.L.C.” or “LLC”
- “Limited” and “Company” can be abbreviated to “Ltd.” and “Co.”
Don't Confuse Your Ohio Business Name With Another Business Name
- The following terms can’t be used to say your business name is different from another business name:
- Suffixes like Corporation, Company, Incorporated, Incorporation, Limited, Corp, Co, Inc, Ltd, LLC
- Definite articles like “A,” “And," “An,” “&,” “The,” etc.
- The singular, plural or possessive forms of a word
- Punctuation and symbols
- Abbreviations of words
- Different typefaces, fonts, superscript, subscript, etc.
- It should not be possible to confuse the name of your business with the name of another Ohio business
- For example, you can’t claim that Blue Widget Co., Blue Widget LLC, Blue Widget Incorporated, Blue-Widget-Company or Blue Widget are different from one another
Rules on Words You Can’t Use in Your Business Name
- The Ohio LLC name can’t suggest affiliation with any federal or state government entity or agency.
- You cannot use the following words as qualifiers in the overall Ohio LLC business name: "companies," "corporations," "incorporation.”
- If a name contains profanity or words or phrases that are generally considered a slur against an ethnic group, religion, gender or heredity, it is considered unacceptable.
- Certain restricted words need additional paperwork if you want to use them in your business name. This includes names associated with institutions like a bank or credit union.
- You cannot use certain prohibited words that would confuse the name of your LLC with a federal or state agency, e.g. IRS, EPA, Treasury, etc.
- You can also be an Ohio LLC with a different “doing business as” name. In Ohio these are known as “Fictitious Names” and need to be registered with the secretary of state.
Information on Naming an LLC
- You can reserve a name online. Please note that you do not need to reserve a name if you are forming an LLC. By registering an LLC, the name will automatically be reserved for your business. You would normally only reserve a name if you are not planning on forming a new company anytime soon.
- A name can be used to form any type of business entity, not just an LLC.
- Just filing a name registration doesn’t guarantee you will be granted the name. You should wait until your LLC is officially formed before using the name for anything else.
Rules on Infringing on Service Marks or Trademarks Inside or Outside Ohio
In addition to the rules above, it’s also vital to see if your Ohio LLC name might infringe on the trademark or service mark of another business. For example, it might not be a good idea to call yourself “Google Search Optimization Services,” since Google is a trademark.
The easiest way to see if your proposed business name infringes is to carry out a trademark search. You can do that via the United States Patent and Trademark Office, or Incfile can help you protect your business with our new trademark search and registration service. You should also bear in mind that your Ohio business entity name cannot be substantially similar to an existing trademark or service mark.
What Should You Call Your Ohio LLC?
Finding the perfect name can be tough. You want a business name that:
- Describes what your Ohio business does
- Appeals to your planned audience
- Makes your business easy to find
- Is relatively unique
- Doesn’t limit you to a particular location or type of product or service
Fortunately, we’ve got some good advice on seeking out the perfect business name for your Ohio LLC. Check out our guidance on naming your LLC and get inspired.
You’ve Found the Perfect Name, What Next?
Once you’ve found the right name for your business, it’s time to make it a reality. Check out our packages for starting your Ohio LLC and form your LLC today.