How To Run A Business Entity Search In Maryland
Not everything about starting a new business needs to be hard work and serious. Choosing a name for the business is one of the more fun aspects. However, before you start getting creative and setting your heart on just one name, there are some rules to the game that you need to be aware of.
The state of Maryland requires that every business have a unique name. This is to prevent possible confusion in legal disputes that may arise in the future. But there are also fewer legal reasons why choosing a unique business name is important.
The name should distinguish the business from the competition as well as other businesses that may not even be in the same industry. A Maryland business with a unique name is never going to be confused with another business that may offer different products or services.
In order to ensure that the business name is unique, you need to run a business entity search.
What Is A Business Entity Search?
A Business Entity Search looks for all businesses that have been registered in Maryland that may be the same as or similar to the name you have chosen for your business. This check should be made before registering a business. You are going to need that unique business name in order to register a business so that it can operate legally.
How To Choose A Unique Business Name?
Firstly, the name of the business should in some way inform consumers of the type of services or products that the company offers. It is going to be much harder to attract potential customers or clients if the name does not speak to the type of business.
Secondly, the name is going to have to include the type of business. For example, Limited Liability Company, Corporation or Sole Proprietor. However, adding the full name or an abbreviation to the end of the business name is not going to make it unique. So if your chosen business name is exactly the same as another business, you can’t simply change LLC to L.L.C. in order to distinguish your name.
It is also a good idea to apply the “deceptively similar” rule when choosing a business name. This means that you can’t simply change the spelling of a word, exchange a word for a symbol or use alphanumeric elements to make a name slightly different. Remember that it is in your best interests to choose a name that is as different as possible from any existing business names.
It is therefore recommended to have a list of at least 3 – 5 options for business names available before starting a business entity search. Start with your most preferred name and eliminate existing business names as you continue your search. What remains on your list is going to be the best option for your business name.
Trade Names, Trademarks, and Business Names
Registering a business name is not the same as registering a business name as a trademark. A trademark means that no-one else can use the business name in any way. Registering a business name on the other hand only means that other businesses cannot use the name as their business name. If you want to register your business name as a trademark, visit the Maryland Secretary of State website. If your business is going to be operating under a different name to the one which you have registered, you are going to have to make additional applications to register a Trade Name. This is often referred to as “doing business as” or “trading as”. You are going to need to run a business entity search for the Trade Name as well as the registered business name.
How To Run A Business Entity Search In Maryland
Most states require that you visit the Secretary of State website to access their database of registered businesses in order to conduct a business entity search. However, Maryland aims to streamline the process and make business registrations as easy as possible. In order to do this, they have created the Maryland Business Express Portal to help new businesses with everything they need to register on one site.
To conduct a business entity search in Maryland, visit https://egov.maryland.gov/BusinessExpress/EntitySearch. Enter the potential name for your business in the search box and enter. A list of business names that is the same or similar to your chosen business name will be returned to you. Make sure that the name you choose for your business is unique before registering the business to avoid delays or having to start the process from the beginning.
Once you have found a business name that is unique, it is important to reserve it. The business registration can take 4 – 6 weeks to complete and this will prevent any other new businesses from using your chosen name for their registration during this period. You do have the option to expedite registration at an additional cost to register your new business in 10 days.