Naming Your Wisconsin Limited Liability Company
You need the right name for your Wisconsin LLC. Choosing the right name is vital because it tells your suppliers, customers and employees what your business does. Wisconsin has several rules and regulations about what you can call your new business. Let’s explore what they are.
General Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions Rules on Naming Your LLC
- The name needs to be unique and not used by another LLC or business operating in Wisconsin
- The name of your Wisconsin business must end with “Limited Liability Company,” “L.L.C.” or “LLC”
Don't Confuse Your Wisconsin Business Name With Another Business Name
- The following terms can’t be used to say your business name is different from another business name:
- Suffixes such as Corporation, Company, Incorporated, Incorporation, Limited, Corp., Co., Inc., Ltd., LLC
- Definite articles like “A,” “And,” “An,” “&,” “The,” etc.
- The singular, plural or possessive forms of a word
- Punctuation and symbols
- Abbreviations of words
- Different typefaces, fonts, superscript, subscript, etc.
- It should not be possible to confuse the name of your business with the name of another Wisconsin business
- For example, you can’t claim that Blue Widget Co., Blue Widget LLC, Blue Widget Incorporated, Blue-Widget-Company or Blue Widget are different from one another
Rules on Words You Can’t Use in Your Business Name
- The Wisconsin LLC name can’t suggest affiliation with any federal or state government entity or agency.
- Names that use words to describe or convey the impression that the business is engaged in the practice of architecture, professional engineering or designing must comply with special requirements.
- The word "insurance" is prohibited in a business name unless the name makes clear that the business is not an insurance company.
- You cannot use certain prohibited words that would confuse the name of your LLC with a federal or state agency, e.g., IRS, EPA, Treasury, etc.
- You can also be a Wisconsin LLC with a different “doing business as” name. In Wisconsin these are known as “fictitious names” and need to be registered with the Department of Financial Institutions. Learn about fictitious names in your state.
Wisconsin Information on Naming an LLC
- You can reserve a name. Please note that you do not need to reserve a name if you are forming an LLC. By registering an LLC, the name will automatically be reserved for your business. You would normally only reserve a name if you are not planning on forming your new company anytime soon.
- A name can be used to form any type of business entity, not just an LLC.
- Just filing a name registration doesn’t guarantee you will be granted the name. You should wait until your LLC is formally created before using the name for anything else.
Rules About Infringing on Service Marks or Trademarks Inside or Outside Wisconsin
In addition to the rules above, it’s also vital to see if your Wisconsin LLC name might infringe on the trademark or service mark of another business. For example, it might not be a good idea to call yourself “Google Search Optimization Services” since Google is a trademark.
The easiest way to see if your proposed business name infringes is to carry out a trademark search. You can do that via the United States Patent and Trademark Office or Incfile can help you protect your business with our new Trademark Search and Registration service. You should also bear in mind that your Wisconsin business entity name cannot be substantially similar to an existing trademark or service mark.
How to Search for Your Wisconsin Business Entity Name
Search the database of the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions for your proposed business name to see if it's unique. You can search for:
- Legal Entity Name
- Effective Date of initial registration
- Entity Type (Corporation, LLC, LP, etc.)
- Registered Agent
- Registered Office Address of record
- DFI Entity ID# (not to be confused with FEIN)
- Charter document filing history
- Principal Office Address, if required by law
- Current Status (i.e., DIS-Dissolved, DLQ-Delinquent)
- Year indicator of most-recently filed annual report
What Should You Call Your Wisconsin LLC?
Finding the perfect name can be tough. You want a business name that:
- Describes what your Wisconsin business does
- Appeals to your planned audience
- Makes your business easy to find
- Is relatively unique
- Doesn’t limit you to a particular location or type of product or service
Fortunately, we’ve got some good advice on seeking out the perfect business name for your Wisconsin LLC. Check out our guidance on naming your LLC and get inspired.
You’ve Found the Perfect Name; What Next?
Once you’ve found the right name for your business, it’s time to make it a reality. Check out our packages for starting your Wisconsin LLC and form your LLC today.