Naming Your West Virginia LLC

We’re here to help you find the right business name for your West Virginia LLC. From searching for a business name with the WV Secretary of State to understanding naming rules or creating a “Doing Business As” name to register your entity, you’re in the right place.

West Virginia Secretary of State Business Search

Once you’ve narrowed down your business name choices, you’ll need to check if there’s already another West Virginia business registered under your desired business name. That means searching the West Virginia Secretary of State website using their business entity search tool. You can easily look up LLCs and corporations by name and other details.

If the business name is already used, that means it’s not available and you won’t be able to register it. Try searching for a different business name instead.

Rules About LLC Names in West Virginia

Every LLC in West Virginia needs to follow the Secretary of State’s naming rules. We’ve outlined these rules below:

Your LLC Business Name Must Be Unique

The business name you have chosen cannot be used by any other LLC or corporation in the state of West Virginia. This is why you should check business name availability on the WV SOS website.

Your LLC Business 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 West Virginia. 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 like “A,” “And,” “An,” “&,” “The,” etc.
  • The singular, plural or possessive forms of a word
  • Abbreviations, punctuation, symbols, fonts, typefaces, etc.
Your LLC Business Name Must Contain Certain Words

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

Your LLC Business 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 WV agency or organization (e.g., FBI, FDA, West Virginia Department of Revenue, West Virginia 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 Olympic organization
  • Imply a purpose that it would be illegal for your business to carry out

“Trade Names” or DBAs in West Virginia

You might choose to do business under a different name from your legal LLC name. In West Virginia, doing business under a different name is known as a “Trade Name” or “Doing Business As” (DBA) name. You might choose to use a different name from your formal LLC name for a variety of reasons.

For example, your LLC might be called West Virginia Outdoor Holding Company LLC, but you have a brand called “Beautiful Boating.” You should file an “Application For Trade Name (DBA)” to let the West Virginia Secretary of State know. In West Virginia, you do that directly with the SOS or you can have Incfile do it on your behalf through our DBA service.

Register Your LLC Name with the Secretary of State

Once you’ve checked name availability, followed the naming rules and decided whether you need a fictitious name, you can register your WV LLC name. There are a couple of ways to do this.

  • If you don’t want to form your West Virginia LLC right now, you can reserve the business name with the West Virginia Secretary of State. You will need to complete an “Application for Name Reservation” and file it with the SOS. You do not need to reserve a name if you are forming your business right away.

    West Virginia SOS LLC name reservation form.

  • If you’re ready to start your West Virginia LLC, you can formally file your Articles of Organization with the Secretary of State, or let Incfile take care of it for you.

FAQs on Naming Your West Virginia LLC

You might find the following answers useful.

How Do I Know if My Chosen Name Is Available?

Just go to the business name search tool and enter your proposed business name. This will allow you to search the register of the West Virginia Secretary of State and see if there are any corporations or LLCs with that name.

Are There Any Rules on Naming My West Virginia LLC?

Yes. Most LLCs will be bound by general rules (applicable to all LLCs) and specific rules (applicable in the state of West Virginia). We’ve detailed these rules above.

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

Yes. Known as “assumed names,” “fictitious names,” “doing business as names” or “trade names,” you can choose to conduct business under a different name. Details are above.

Can I Reserve a Name for My West Virginia LLC?

Yes. The West Virginia Secretary of State allows you to reserve a name if you don’t want to start your business immediately. If you are ready to start your business now, you do not need to reserve a name.

Additional Resources for Naming Your West Virginia LLC

You might find these other resources helpful.

Trademarks and Service Marks

You must be careful that your West Virginia LLC name does not infringe on the trademark or service mark of another business. The easiest way to make sure your proposed business name does not infringe is to carry out a trademark search through Incfile. If it doesn’t infringe, you can even register it as a trademark yourself.

How to Choose a 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:

  • Appeal to your customers
  • Be memorable enough to stand out
  • Best represent your product or services
  • Not be used by another business

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