If you’re searching for the perfect business name for your South Dakota C Corporation, we can help. We’ve got all the information you need on how to conduct a South Dakota SOS 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 in use by any other business in the state. This is why it's so important to perform a South Dakota Secretary of State corporation search before you begin your incorporation paperwork.
It’s not enough for your corporation name to be unique. It also cannot be comparable 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, South Dakota Department of Revenue, South Dakota 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 South Dakota Business Names
In addition to the general rules listed above, you'll need to follow some South Dakota corporation laws that apply to naming your business.
For example, per the state's Business Corporation Act Title 47, Chapter 01A, § 47-1A-401:
"A corporate name must contain the term, corporation, incorporated, company, or limited, or the abbreviation, corp., inc., co., or ltd., or terms or abbreviations of like import in another language."
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.
South Dakota Corporation Name Search
Once you have an idea of the name you want, perform a South Dakota business search to make sure another company isn't already using that name.
You can use the state's name availability search available on the SOS website to perform a name search. Or 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 South Dakota 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. You can even register the trademark yourself if it isn't already being used.
Register a DBA in South Dakota
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 South Dakota. You may decide to use a fictitious name for a variety of reasons.
For example, your primary business may be called Open Arms, Inc., and you have a chain called Open Arms Hospitality. You could register a fictitious name just for that brand. You'd do that with the Secretary of State by completing the online filing process, or you can have Incfile do it on your behalf with our DBA service.
Even with DBAs it's important that the name isn't the same as any other corporation doing business in the state. Perform a South Dakota DBA 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 South Dakota Secretary of State (SOS)
You’ve performed a South Dakota Secretary of State corporation 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.