Searching For Your LLC Name In Delaware
If you want to create an LLC in the state of Delaware, then the first thing you need to do is list possible names for your LLC.
Then, you have to search the Delaware Division of Corporation database on its website in order to determine if your LLC name is both available and ‘distinguishable’.
Name Requirements For Delaware LLCs
Before trying to look up your Delaware LLC name, you need to be aware of several requirements. They are as follows:
1) You have to end your name with one of two abbreviations. “LLC” is used most frequently, but you can also choose “L.L.C.” if you wish.
2) Since LLCs aren’t technically corporations, the name you want to use can’t have certain things in it, including “Corp.”, “Corporation”, “Inc.”, or “Incorporated”.
3) The LLC name you want has to be considered “distinguishable”. That means it has to be distinct from every other business that is already registered in the state of Delaware.
Grammar differences and designator differences are not alone to establish distinguishability. Designators are the identifiers sometimes put at the end of your business name.
-Inc., Corp., L.L.C., or LLC
-possessive, singular, or plural
-&, and, or
-commas, periods, slashes, or hyphens
-Spelling out numbers versus using numerals
As an example, these LLC names aren’t considered distinguishable from one another:
Jane Doe Salon, LLC vs. Jane Doe Salon, Inc.
Bird Sanctuary, LLC vs. Bird Sanctuaries, LLC
Tire Store, LLC vs. The Tire Store, LLC
Afternoons & Evenings, LLC vs. Afternoons and Evenings, LLC
Larry, Moe, & Curly Comic Club, LLC vs. Larry-Moe-Curly Comic Club, Inc
Three Kings Country Club, LLC vs. 3 Kings Country Club, LLC
Reserving a name for a Delaware LLC isn’t mandatory.
There has been misinformation spreading around that you need to make a reservation for your LLC name in Delaware in advance. This simply isn’t true, as the state of Delaware doesn’t require LLC name reservations.
All you must do is basic research on your preferred LLC name in order to be sure it’s actually available. Then, you just fill out and file your LLCs Certificate of Formation, and part of this is listing the LLC name you prefer. Once more, you needn’t reserve it in advance.
On the other hand, if you know of a name you’d like to use for your LLC in Delaware, but you aren’t prepared to file a Certificate of Formation just yet, you can pay a $75 fee to lock that name down for half of a year.
How do you lookup LLC names in the state of Delaware?
There are two different ways you can look up LLC names for availability and distinguishability.
The “Name Availability Search” function will provide you instant positive or negative results.
You can also utilize the “General Information Name Search” feature for browsing through current businesses so you can look up distinguishability on your own.
Name Availability Searching For The State Of Delaware
Notice: You’re going to come across a lot of terminology regarding ‘name reservation’, and that can be kind of confusing. Don’t fret, because, again, there’s no requirement to reserve a name for your LLC.
1) Head to the page with “Name Availability Search” at the Delaware Division of Corporations website.
2) Agree to the website terms by checking off the provided disclaimer box.
3) You’ll see a drop-down list for “Entity Kind”. In it, choose “Limited Liability Company” or LLC.
4) In the drop-down list for “Entity Ending”, choose the ending you prefer. Again, simple “LLC” is the one most frequently used.
5) Input the LLC name that you desire. Don’t put any endings in it. For instance, if you would like your LLC name to be “XYZ Thingamabobs LLC”, then just put “XYZ Thingamabobs”.
6) Click on the button that says “Search”. Do not hit your Enter key, because that sends you to a different page you don’t want.
The results may show you several different results:
-Your LLC name might be available with a reservation cost of $75.00. This means that the LLC name you want can be had. When it asks you whether or not you want to reserve the name, you can click on the No option.
-Your LLC name might not be available for reservation, so you can’t use it. You’ll either need to come up with a new name or find some creative variation that’s unique enough.
General Information Name Search For The State Of Delaware
1) Find the page for General Information Name Search on the Delaware Division of Corporations website.
2) Input your preferred LLC name into the box for “Entity Name”. Don’t worry about capitalization, and omit punctuation and the “LLC” ending. If you want to be really thorough, just input the first word or so of the LLC name so you start seeing everything that is possibly similar.
There is a box for “File Number“. Leave it blank.
3) Click on “Search” so you can start perusing the list of current Delaware business registrations:
“No Record Found” or no appearances of your chosen LLC name in the listed search results means your name is available for you to use.
If you see it listed exactly as you would have it, regardless of what kind of entity, then it’s not free to use. Come up with something else.
If you see a name very similar to your chosen LLC name in the results, then yours probably isn’t available. Come up with something new and different.
Restrictions on names for Delaware LLCs
23 DE Reg 323 includes new regulations that amend Section 102 of Delaware Code Title 20, otherwise known as the Business Entity Name Standards and Process. These new regulations are an attempt to clarify Delaware business names.
The new regulations can be put simply in how they impact LLC names in the state of Delaware.
LLC names in the state of Delaware can’t do the following:
-break the law
-result in public harm
-result in harm to Delaware as a state
-result in harm to the business reputation of the state of Delaware
-discriminate against any protected classes
-inspire or facilitate any illegal activity
-result in public confusion or deception
-be hard for the Division to administrate (for example, LLC names with 500 letters)
The Delaware government Division of Corporations might turn down LLC names if they denigrate, disparages, or discriminates against any protected classes that are defined by federal law for their:
-age, if over 40
The Delaware government Division of Corporations might also reject LLC names if they foster, incite, or facilitate:
-terroristic acts or threats
-endangerment of anyone’s physical safety or life
-a threat to public safety
-controlled substances, opioids, and narcotic drugs
-stalking, cyberstalking, hate crimes, bullying, or cyberbullying
-libel or obscene language
-dangerous instruments or deadly weapons
-any various criminal offense or act prohibited by any Title 11 section
Should an LLC examiner make the determination that your chosen LLC name for Delaware business isn’t compliant with these rules, then you will probably get a rejection for your LLC filing.
Aside from the hard-to-administer rule, there aren’t particular examples listed. This is done so that LLC examiners can use their own discretion when determining if LLC names are acceptable or not.
If your LLC name is potentially questionable, you can always consult the state via phone for an opinion. Just keep in mind that these responses are far from official. Otherwise, you can just use your debatable name when filing a Certificate of Formation. Should the filing get rejected, you will receive a refund and be given the option of filing again with a different name for your LLC.
If you do get a questionable name approved for your LLC, just keep in mind that Title 6 Section 18-112(a) gives the state the power to revoke your LLC’s Certificate of Formation anytime in the future because of misuse/abuse of LLC powers, existence, and privilege. Given that, we strongly suggest you come up with a name for your Delaware LLC that stays safe within the listed rules and guidelines.