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How To Run A Business Entity Search In North Dakota
Choosing a name for your new business can be one of the biggest challenges you face. The name will reflect what your business does, what it is and become the building block for your brand identity. You want the name to be creative, clever, and attractive. In addition, there are some rules and regulations that apply to business names for your LLC in North Dakota.
Your business name cannot be exactly the same as or deceptively similar to a business name that has already been registered. Deceptively similar basically means that it cannot be so similar that it creates any confusion. This is to avoid conflicts arising in legal disputes that may arise down the line.
For these reasons (and some others), you need a business name that is entirely unique. To find out if the name you have in mind for your business is available and distinguishable from all other registered business names, you need to run a Business Entity Search.
What Is A Business Entity Search?
A business entity search allows you to search for all businesses that have been registered according to state. In North Dakota, the Secretary of State is responsible for filing all new business registrations and therefore has a database of every registered business name in the state. This database is available to the general public to search for businesses using a relevant keyword or words contained in the business name on the official North Dakota Secretary of State website.
How To Run A Business Entity Search In North Dakota
Visit https://firststop.sos.nd.gov/search/business and enter the proposed name for your business in the “Business Search” box. A set of search results will be returned to you according to the relevance of words that appear in both the search query and the registered business names in the state. You will then have to go through each result to ensure that your name is not the same or deceptively similar to any of the search results.
It is important to note that the search will not return similar results that may have slightly different spellings or other differences. It is therefore important to conduct a search for different variations of the same name to root out any registered business names that may be deceptively similar.
You should also compile a list of a few different potential names for the business. If your first choice is not available, you can simply move down the list until your find a name that is available. Remember to conduct searches for different variations for each name on your list.
Tips For Avoiding Deceptively Similar Business Names
There are a few rules that you need to follow that will help you choose a business name that is unique or make changes to a deceptively similar name to make it unique:
– Don’t replace words with symbols or the other way around. While you can use some symbols in a business name, you will need to use the word for the symbol when registering your business name. It follows that the word for the symbol will also need to be used in your business entity search.
– You need to define your type of business in your business names. Limited Liability Company, Corporation, or Sole Proprietor should be added to the end of the business name. Using an abbreviated format is allowed. However, making changes to the abbreviated form will not distinguish the business name. For example, replacing LLC with L.L.C.
– You can’t simply replace a number with a word – i.e. substitute the number “4” with the word “four”. This will not make your business name unique.
– You can’t simply change the order of the words in the registered business name to create a new name. This will not distinguish it from the existing name.
– Changing the spelling of some or all of the words in the business name will also not make it distinguishable.
– Using pronouns or capitalizing letters does not distinguish a name.
– Adding articles such as “and, the, it, etc.” will not distinguish the name.
It is always best to try for an entirely unique name rather than attempting to make changes to an existing name. This will give you greater certainty that you are avoiding deceptively similar business names that have already been registered.
If the name that you choose for your business registration is not unique, the filing will be rejected. This will mean that you will need to choose a new name and start the registration process from scratch. Starting again will result in needing to pay the filing fee and other associated charges again.
It takes only minutes to run a business entity search and register a new business online. Avoiding this step can however result in lengthy delays in registering your business so that it can begin legally operating in North Dakota.