Whether you’re searching for the right business name or registering your LLC with the Wisconsin DFI, we can help. We’ve got all the information you need on how to perform a Wisconsin LLC search, LLC naming rules, trade names and registering your business.

General Rules for LLC Names

These rules typically apply to all LLCs, no matter what state they’re formed in.

1
Your LLC Name Must Be Unique

The business name you've chosen cannot be used by any other LLC or corporation in the State of Wisconsin. This is why it’s so important to conduct a Wisconsin business name search before you file and create your LLC.

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 Wisconsin. In addition, you cannot use the following factors to differentiate your name 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” or the abbreviation “L.L.C.” or “LLC” in their names, normally at the end of the business 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, Wisconsin Comptroller, 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 International Olympic Committee
  • Imply a purpose that would be illegal for your business to carry out

Specific Rules for Wisconsin Business Names

In addition to the general rules listed above, Wisconsin has some specific business naming rules.

You’ll need to follow these rules to name your business appropriately. One rule, for example, states:

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.

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:

Sound good to your customers

Best describe your product or services

Be unique and different from all other businesses in Wisconsin

Be memorable enough to be remembered

Need help coming up with business name ideas? Try Incfile’s free Business Name Generator.

Wisconsin Business Search

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

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

Note: While many states administer business creation and management through the Secretary of State office, the Wisconsin DFI is the organization that handles it in that state. If you’re looking to perform a Wisconsin Secretary of State business search, you’ll need to use the DFI’s business search tool.

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

Trademarks and Service Marks

You need to be careful that your Wisconsin 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’re free to register it as a trademark yourself.

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.

Wisconsin DBA or Trade Name

You may opt to do business as 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 Wisconsin, it’s known as a trade name. You may choose to use a trade name for a variety of reasons.
For example, your LLC might be called Wisconsin Travel and Tourism, LLC, and you have a chain called Milwaukee Lakeside Rovers. You should file for a trade name to let the Wisconsin DFI know. You can do that online, or you can have Incfile do it on your behalf through our DBA service.

Note: In most states, there's a difference between trade name vs. trademark. However, Wisconsin doesn't distinguish between the two and uses the same form and registration process for both a trade name and a trademark.

Register and manage a DBA or trade name through our
easy-to-use service.

Register Your Business Name with the Wisconsin DFI

Once you’ve completed a Wisconsin business entity search, confirmed availability, followed the naming rules and decided whether you need a trade name, you can register your LLC name. You have a couple of options to do this.

1

If you don’t want to form your LLC right now, you may reserve the business name. You’ll need to complete a Name Reservation Application and file it with the Wisconsin DFI. Once you do so, your name will be reserved for 120 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, you can file your Articles of Organization with the Wisconsin DFI or have Incfile do it for you.

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

Form an LLC in Wisconsin for $0 + State Fee ($130)

FAQs About Wisconsin
Business Names

How Do I Search for My Wisconsin Business Name?

Open our free Business Name Search tool and enter your proposed business name. You can also perform a Wisconsin business search of the state's registry, which will tell you whether any corporations or LLCs in the state already have that name.

Are There Any Rules for Naming My Wisconsin LLC?

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.

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

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

Can I Reserve a Name for My Wisconsin LLC?

Yes. The Wisconsin DFI allows you to reserve a name if you’re not ready 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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