Search for and Register Your Wisconsin LLC Name
Your Wisconsin business entity needs the perfect name, and we’re here to help. In this section we’ll guide you through searching the WI Department of Financial Institutions business register, tell you about the rules for naming your business, describe “Trade Names” and get you started with registering your LLC.
Completing a Business Entity Search with the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions
Before officially forming your LLC, you need to check whether there’s already another Wisconsin LLC registered with your desired business name. Although the Secretary of State provides this service in most states, in Wisconsin it’s the Department of Financial Institutions. You can easily perform an LLC lookup with their website’s business entity search tool.
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 on Wisconsin LLC Name Availability
Once you’ve decided on a name for your LLC and checked business name availability, you’ll need to meet the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions’s naming rules. These do vary from state to state — we’ve got general naming rules below, as well as naming rules specific to LLC businesses formed in WI.
General Rules for Naming Your LLC
These rules typically apply to all LLCs, no matter what state they are formed in. You will need to pay attention to these rules, as they will influence the name you choose for your Wisconsin LLC.
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 Wisconsin. This is why you should check business name availability on the WI CC website.
Your LLC Business Name Must Not Be Confusable with Another Business Name
It’s not enough for your WI LLC name to be unique; it also cannot be similar to the name of another corporation or LLC in Wisconsin. 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 WI agency or organization (e.g., FBI, FDA, Wisconsin Department of Revenue, Wisconsin 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
Specific Rules for Naming Your Wisconsin LLC
In addition to the general rules listed above, the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions has some specific business naming rules for your LLC. You will need to follow these rules if you want to name your WI business appropriately.
“The word ‘insurance’ is prohibited in a corporate name filed with the department unless the name makes clear that the corporation is not an insurance company. Corporate names that use words to describe or convey the impression that the corporation is engaged in the practice of architecture, professional engineering or designing must comply with the requirements of Ch. 443, Wis. Stats. (Contact Dept of Safety and Professional Services, (608) 266-5511) for details.) The word ‘cooperative’ may be used only in the name of a cooperative association formed under Ch. 185, Wis. Stats., and may not be used by other business or nonprofit corporations.”
Wisconsin LLC DBA or Trade Names
You might choose to do business under a different name from your legal LLC name. In Wisconsin, doing business under a different name is known as a “Trade Name.” You might choose to use a different name from your WI formal LLC name for a variety of reasons.
For example, your LLC might be called Wisconsin Travel and Tourism Holding Company LLC and you have a chain called Riverside Rovers. You should file a trade name to let the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions knowIncfile's Trade Name Services
Register Your Wisconsin LLC Business Name
Once you’ve searched for your Wisconsin business name, checked availability, followed the naming rules and decided whether you need a trade name, you can register your WI LLC name. There are a couple of ways to do this:
If you don’t want to form your Wisconsin LLC right now, you may file a statement with the county Register of Deeds, or file a trade-name registration with the Department of Financial Institutions.
Wisconsin DFI LLC name reservation form.
If you’re ready to start your Wisconsin LLC, you can formally file your Articles of Organization with the Wisconsin DFI, or let Incfile take care of it for you.
FAQs on Naming Your Wisconsin LLC
You might find the following answers useful.
Just go to the Wisconsin business search tool and enter your proposed business name. You can search the register of the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions, which will tell you if there are any WI corporations or LLCs with that name.
Yes. Most LLCs will be bound by general rules (applicable to all LLCs) and specific rules (applicable in the state of Wisconsin). We’ve detailed these rules above.
Yes. Using what’s known in different states as an “assumed name,” “fictitious name,” “doing business as name” or “trade name,” you can choose to conduct business under a different name. Details are above.
Yes. The Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions allows you to reserve a name if you don’t want to start your business immediately. Details are above. If you are ready to start your business now, you do not need to reserve a name.
Useful Resources for Naming Your Wisconsin LLC
You might find these resources helpful.
Trademarks and Service Marks
You must be careful that your Wisconsin 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.Incfile Trademark Search and Registration Service
Find the Perfect Name for Your Wisconsin LLC
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