Incfile can help you whether you’re searching for the right business name or registering your LLC with the South Carolina Secretary of State. We have all the information you need to know on how to conduct a South Carolina business search, plus LLC naming rules, assumed 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 South Carolina. This is why it's imperative to perform a South Carolina 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 South Carolina. 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, South Carolina Comptroller, South Carolina 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 South Carolina Business Names
As mentioned above, South Carolina requires LLCs to comply with the general naming rules. Unlike many other states, the State of South Carolina doesn't require 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.
South Carolina Business Search
Once you have an idea of what you want as your business name, you’ll need to perform a South Carolina 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 South Carolina Secretary of State also has a business entity search that lets you search the State of South Carolina 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 South Carolina 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.
South Carolina DBA or Fictitious 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), trade name or assumed name. The State of South Carolina refers to this as a fictitious name or an assumed name. You may choose to use a South Carolina fictitious business name for a variety of reasons.
For example, your business might be called Coastal PR Solutions, LLC, and under that company, you have an event planning business called Coastal Events. You could file for a fictitious business name just for that company. South Carolina doesn't have DBA registration requirements for LLCs, but you could still file an Assumed Name Certificate with the South Carolina 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 South Carolina Secretary of State (SOS)
Once you’ve completed a South Carolina business entity search, checked availability, followed the naming rules and decided whether you need a fictitious or assumed business name, you can register your LLC name. There are a couple of ways to do this.