Naming Your Tennessee Limited Liability Company
You need the right name for your Tennessee LLC. Choosing the right name is vital because it tells your suppliers, customers and employees what your business does. Tennessee has several rules and regulations about what you can call your new business. Let’s explore what they are.
General Tennessee Secretary of State Rules on Naming Your LLC
- The name needs to be unique and not used by another LLC or business operating in Tennessee
- The name of your Tennessee business must end with “Limited Liability Company,” “L.L.C.” or “LLC”
Don't Confuse Your Tennessee 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, such as 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 Tennessee 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
Your Tennessee LLC name may not contain language that implies:
- It can conduct business for which special authorization is needed, unless you have written authorization from the relevant authority, commission or officer.
- It is organized as, affiliated with or sponsored by any fraternal, veterans', service, religious, charitable or professional organization, unless that is certified in writing by the organization that you have the affiliation or sponsorship with.
- It is an agency, affiliated with or sponsored by the United States (federal, state, regional or local government), unless that is certified in writing by an appropriate official.
Although these are the main rules about naming your business in Tennessee, there are plenty more.
You can also be a Tennessee LLC with a different “doing business as” name. In Tennessee these are known as “assumed names” and need to be registered with the Secretary of State. Learn about assumed names in your state.
Tennessee Information on Naming an LLC
- You can reserve a name. 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 your 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 formally created before using the name for anything else.
Rules About Infringing on Service Marks or Trademarks Inside or Outside Tennessee
In addition to the rules above, it’s also vital to see if your Tennessee 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 Tennessee business entity name cannot be substantially similar to an existing trademark or service mark.
How to Search for Your Tennessee Business Entity Name
Search the database of the Tennessee Secretary of State for your proposed business name to see if it's unique. You can search for a business name or the Secretary of State Control Number.
What Should You Call Your Tennessee LLC?
Finding the perfect name can be tough. You want a business name that:
- Describes what your Tennessee 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 Tennessee 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 Tennessee LLC and form your LLC today.