Whether you’re searching for the right business name or registering your LLC with the TN Secretary of State, we can help. We’ve got all the information you need to perform a TN SOS 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 the state they're formed in.
The business name you have chosen cannot be used by any other LLC or corporation in the State of Tennessee. This is why it's imperative to perform a Tennessee business search before you begin the filing process.
It’s not enough for your LLC name to be unique. It also cannot be similar to the name of a corporation or LLC in Tennessee. Also, you cannot use the following factors to differentiate your business name from that 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 a word
- 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 similar to the name of a federal or state agency or organization (e.g., FBI, FDA, Tennessee Department of Revenue, Tennessee 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 illegal for your business to carry out
Specific Tennessee Rules for Business Names
In addition to the general rules listed above, Tennessee has some specific business naming rules. You'll need to follow these rules to name your business appropriately. Tennessee code, Title 48, Chapter 54 says a business name cannot contain language stating or implying the business:
How to Come Up with a Great Business Name
The perfect business name can be elusive. We have a complete guide to choosing the right business name, but basically, you'll want to choose a name that will:
Need help coming up with business name ideas? Try our free Business Name Generator.
Tennessee Business Search
Once you have an idea of what business name you’d like to use, you’ll need to complete a Tennessee business entity search to make sure another business in the state doesn’t already have that name.
Incfile offers a simple and convenient tool to look up your proposed business name. The TN Secretary of State also has a tool that lets you search the registry of LLCs and corporations in the state to see whether someone already has your desired business name.
Trademarks and Service Marks
You must be careful that your Tennessee 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.
Tennessee DBA or Assumed Name
You might decide to do business under a name other than your legal LLC name. Some states call this a DBA (doing business as), fictitious name or trade name, while Tennessee calls it an assumed name. You may want to use a different name for a variety of reasons.
For example, your LLC might be called Tennessee Music Holding Company, LLC and you have a chain called Bluegrass Records. You'll need to file an Application for Registration of Assumed Name form to inform the TN Secretary of State. You can also have Incfile do it on your behalf through our DBA filing service.
Note: A trade name is not the same as a trademark. Learn more about trademark vs. DBA.
Register Your Business Name with the TN Secretary of State
Once you’ve completed a Tennessee business entity search, checked availability, followed the naming rules and determined whether you need an assumed name, you can register your LLC name in one of two ways:
Form an LLC in Tennessee for $0 + State Fee ($50 per member; $300 minimum)