Whether you’re searching for the right business name or registering your LLC with the Washington Secretary of State (SOS), we can help. We’ve got all the information you need on how to conduct an Washington business search, plus LLC naming rules, trade 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.

1
Your LLC Name Must Be Unique

The business name you have chosen cannot be used by any other LLC or corporation in the State of Washington. This is why it's imperative to perform a Washington business search before you begin the filing process.

2
Your LLC Name Must Not Be Confusable with Another Business Name

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 Washington. For example, you cannot use the following factors to say your name is different 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.
3
Your LLC Name Must Contain Certain Words

All LLCs must have the words “Limited Liability Company,” “L.L.C.” or “LLC” in their names, normally at the end of the name.

4
Your LLC Name May Have Other General Restrictions

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, Washington Comptroller, Washington 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 Washington Business Names

As mentioned above, Washington requires LLCs to comply with the general naming rules. In addition to the general rules, Washington will not accept a business name if it does not meet the name requirements for specific entities. You’ll need to follow these rules to name your business appropriately.

How to Come Up with a Business Name

Finding the perfect business name can be tricky. We have a complete guide to choosing the right business name, but basically, you'll want to choose a name that will:

Best represent your product or services

Be memorable enough to stand out

Appeal to your customers

Not be used by any other business

Need help coming up with business name ideas? Try our free Business Name Generator.

Washington Business Search

Once you have an idea of the business name you’d like to use, you’ll need to perform a Washington business entity search to make sure another business doesn’t already have that name.

Incfile offers a fast, simple and convenient tool to look up your proposed business name. The SOS also has a tool that lets you search the State of Washington business registry to see whether someone already has your desired business name.

Find out whether your preferred business name is available in Washington with Incfile’s free tool

Trademarks and Service Marks

You must be careful that your Washington 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. You can even register it as a trademark yourself, if now one else is using it.

Make sure your business is starting off on the right foot when it comes to intellectual property.

Let Incfile run a trademark search for you.

 

Washington DBA or Trade Name

You may do business under a different name from your legal LLC name. In some states, this is called a DBA (doing business as), fictitious name or assumed name. In Washington, it's called a registered trade name and also referred to as DBA. You may decide to use a Washington DBA name for a variety of reasons.

For example, your business might be called ING Marketing Solutions, LLC, and under that company, you have an event planning business called ING Excellent Events. You could file for a registered trade name just for that brand. You'll apply for a business license as a DBA, 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 and manage a DBA or trade name through our easy-to-use service
 

Register Your Business Name with the Washington Secretary of State

Once you’ve completed a Washington business entity search, checked availability, followed the naming rules and decided whether you need a registered trade name, you can register your LLC name. There are a couple of ways to do this.

1

If you don’t want to form your LLC right now, you can reserve the business name. You’ll need to fill in a form, and once completed file it with the WA SOS. Once you do so, your name will be reserved for 180 days. You don’t need to reserve a name if you’re forming your business right away.

2

If you’re ready to start your LLC now, you can file your Articles of Organization with the Washington SOS or have Incfile do it for you.

Incfile can handle all your formation paperwork with the State of Washington for you — and we’ll do it for free!

Form an LLC in Washington for $0 + State Fee ($180)

FAQs about Washington Business Names

How Do I Search for My Washington Business Name?

Use Incfile’s free Business Name Search tool and enter your desired business name. You can also perform a Washington business search of the state's registry, which will tell you whether there are any corporations or LLCs in the state with that name.

Are There Any Rules for Naming My Business in Washington?

Yes. Most LLCs will be bound by general rules (applicable to all LLCs) and specific rules (applicable in the State of Washington). You'll find more information above.

Can I Do Business Under a Different Name Than My LLC Name in Washington?

Yes. You can conduct business under a registered trade name. Details are above.

Can I Reserve a Name for My Washington LLC?

Yes. The Washington Secretary of State allows you to reserve a name if you don’t want to start your business immediately. Details are above. If you’re ready to start your business now, you don’t need to reserve a name.

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