How To Run A Business Entity Search In Hawaii

When starting a new business, one of the first steps is to select a name under which the business will be registered. The state of Hawaii requires that all businesses have a unique name that is different from all names for existing businesses. In order to check the availability of a name for a new business, it is necessary to conduct a Business Entity Search for your LLC in Hawaii.

What Is A Business Entity Search?

A business entity is any business that is registered in the state of Hawaii to legally operate and conduct business. A search of business entities is used to locate certain businesses within the state or check for name availability before registering a new business.


Hawaii Business Entity Search

How To Choose A Unique Business Name

Hawaii employs the “deceptively similar” rule when it comes to distinguishing business names as unique from one another. This rule does not allow business names that sound the same or simply have a few letters, numbers, or symbols added or swapped in order to change it slightly from an exiting business name.

When running a business entity search it is important to keep the deceptively similar rule in mind as well as the following:

– Articles (a, an, the) do not distinguish a business name from a registered business name.
– Punctuation cannot be used to distinguish a business name.
– Plurals are not taken into account in distinguishing a business name.
– Numbers that are substituted for the written word (or vice versa) are not distinguishable.
– Some symbols are allowed to be used in a business name but the full word for the symbol must be used when running a business entity search or registering a business.
– The form of business should be denoted as part of the business name – Limited Liability Company or Corporation. Different forms of abbreviations can be used to denote the form of business but cannot be used to distinguish the business name. For example LLC or L.L.C. and Corp. or Inc.

It is recommended to have a list of potential business names ready and conduct as many different variations of the same name search as possible to ensure that it is not deceptively similar. The onus falls on the applicant to ensure that the chosen name for the business is unique and not deceptively similar.

How To Run A Business Entity Search In Hawaii

The Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs in partnership with the Hawaii Government Business Division has compiled a database containing the names and information of all registered businesses. This database is available for searches by the general public through the Business Express page on the official website.

To perform a search simply, enter the proposed name for the business in the name search entry box. Remember to search for as many variations as possible. Swap words around in the name, substitute numbers for written words and use different spellings for the same name.

A list of search results will be returned that will assist in eliminating names on the list that are already registered or deceptively similar to existing business names. The status of the business will also be reflected on the search results page. If a business has a status of involuntarily dissolved, expired, or withdrawn, this does not mean that the name is available. It is best to choose a name that is different from any registered name on the list of results regardless of the status of the business.

Once an available business name has been found, it is important to reserve the name. The process for registering a new business in Hawaii can take time. Reserving the business name will prevent other new businesses from assuming the name is available and using it.

Once again, it is up to the applicant to conduct a business entity search and ensure that the new business name is unique and not deceptively similar to any registered business names that are already in existence. If the name used to register the business is found to be deceptively similar, the business registration application will be rejected and the entire process will need to be started from the beginning, A business can only legally operate in Hawaii once it has been registered and failing to choose a unique name can mean it takes longer before the business can begin operating.