Whether you’re searching for the right Texas business name or registering your LLC name with the Texas Secretary of State (SOS), we can help. We’ve got all the information you need on how to conduct a Texas LLC search, plus business naming rules, assumed names and trademarks.
General Rules for LLC Names
These rules typically apply to all LLCs, regardless of which state they're formed in.
The business name you select cannot be in use by any other corporation or LLC in the state. This is why it's so important to perform a Texas Secretary of State business search before you begin your formation paperwork.
It’s not enough for your LLC name to be unique. It also cannot be similar to the name of another LLC or corporation in the state. In addition, you cannot use any of the following features in an attempt 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 words
- Abbreviations, punctuation, symbols, fonts, typefaces, etc.
All LLCs must use one of the following in their names, usually at the end of the name: “Limited Liability Company,” “L.L.C.” or “LLC.”
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, Texas Workforce Commission, Texas 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 Texas Business Names
In addition to the general rules listed above, you'll need to follow some Texas LLC laws that apply to naming your business. For example, some words are restricted by Texas Administrative Code § 79.34:
(a) Where prohibited by § 16.105 of the Texas Business & Commerce Code, an entity name cannot include the words, "Olympic," "Olympiad," or "Citius Altius Fortius," or a combination or simulation of those words or use a trademark, trade name, symbol or insignia of the International Olympic Committee or the United States Olympic Committee without the authorization or permission of the United States Olympic Committee. Example: Olympic Tours, Inc. would require a letter of consent, authorization, or no objection from the United States Olympic Committee.
(b) Where prohibited by § 31.005 and § 181.004 of the Texas Finance Code, an entity name cannot include the words "bank," "bank and trust," "trust," "trust company" or a similar term, phrase, or foreign language word unless accompanied by a no objection letter from the Banking Commissioner.
(c) Where prohibited by § 61.313 of the Texas Education Code, an entity name cannot include the words "College," "University," "School of Medicine," "Medical School," "Health Science Center," "School of Law," "Law Center," or "Law School," whether in English or in another language, unless accompanied by a no objection letter from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.
(d) Where prohibited by § 5.062 of the Texas Business Organizations Code, an entity name cannot include the words "Veteran," "Legion," "Foreign," "Spanish," "Disabled," "War," or "World War" if the name implies the entity is created for the benefit of war veterans and their families, without written approval issued from a veterans organization pursuant to § 5.062 of the Texas Business Organizations Code.
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.
Texas Business Entity Search
Once you have an idea of the name you want, you’ll need to perform a Texas business search to make sure another company isn't already using that name.
You can use Texas SOSDirect, the state's online portal, to perform a name search. The Texas SOS charges a fee of $1.00 per search. You can also use our simple and convenient Business Name Search tool, which will search the Texas business registry for you.
Trademarks and Service Marks
You must be careful that your Texas LLC 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. If the trademark isn't already in use, you can even register it yourself.
Let Incfile run a trademark search for you.
Texas DBA or Assumed Name
You may do business under a name different from your LLC's legal name. While many states refer to this as a trade name, fictitious name or "doing business as" (DBA), Texas calls it an assumed name. You may decide to use a Texas assumed name for a variety of reasons.
For example, your primary business may be called Texas Alternative Energy Company, LLC, and you have a chain called Residential Solar Power Systems. You could register an assumed name just for that brand. You'd do that with the Assumed Name Certificate form, or you can have Incfile do it on your behalf with our DBA service.
Important: While your LLC cannot use a name already registered by another business, multiple businesses can use the same assumed name. In order to keep your business names unique, you can also use Texas SOSDirect. For a fee of $1.00 per search, you can perform a Texas assumed name search to find out whether any other companies are already using the assumed 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 Texas SOS
You’ve performed a Texas Secretary of State business search, checked availability, followed the naming rules and determined whether you need an assumed name. Now you can register your LLC name in one of two ways.
Form your LLC in Texas for $0 + state fee ($300).
Use our free Business Name Search tool and enter your chosen business name. You can also perform a search of the state's registry, which will tell you whether any corporations or LLCs in the state are already using that name.
Yes. Most LLCs will be bound by general rules (applicable to all LLCs) and specific rules (applicable in the state of Texas). We’ve detailed these rules above.
Yes. You can conduct business under an assumed name. Details are above.
Yes. The Texas SOS allows you to reserve a name if you're not ready to start your business immediately. Details are above. If you do want to start your business right away, you don't need to reserve a name.