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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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:
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.
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.
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 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.