Whether you’re searching for the right business name or registering your LLC with the West Virginia Secretary of State (SOS), Incfile can help. We’ve got all the information you need on how to conduct a West Virginia 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 what state they’re formed in.
The business name you have chosen cannot be used by any other LLC or corporation in the State of West Virginia. This is why it's imperative to perform a West Virginia business entity 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 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, 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 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 very similar to the name of a federal or state agency or organization (e.g., FBI, FDA, West Virginia Comptroller, 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 International Olympic Committee
- Imply a purpose that would be illegal for your business to carry out
Specific Rules for West Virginia Business Names
As mentioned above, West Virginia requires LLCs to comply with the general naming rules. West Virginia does not require any further name regulations to be met.
How to Come Up With a Business Name
Finding the perfect business name can be difficult. 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.
West Virginia Business Search
Once you have an idea of the business name you’d like to use, you’ll need to perform a West Virginia business name search to make sure the name hasn’t been taken by another business.
Incfile offers a fast, simple, and convenient tool to look up your proposed business name. The WV SOS also has a tool that lets you search the State of West Virginia business registry to see whether someone already has your desired business name.
Trademarks and Service Marks
You must be careful that your West Virginia 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.
West Virginia 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 West Virginia, it's called a registered trade name and also referred to as DBA. You may decide to use a West Virginia DBA name for a variety of reasons.
For example, your business might be called WPN Marketing Solutions, LLC, and under that company, you have an event planning business called WPN Excellent Events. You could file for an assumed business name just for that company. You'll register a trade name (DBA) with the Secretary of State, 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 Your Business Name with the West Virginia Secretary of State
Once you’ve completed a West Virginia business name 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.