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Naming your business


When naming your new business or non-profit organization there are some important things to take into consideration:

• The type of business you will be filing
• Whether the name is available to be filed
• Similarity to names currently being used

You might want to check online see what business names are currently being used in your area for the service or product you will be supplying.

When checking name availability consider the following:

To be accepted for filing, Business Names must be different by at least one letter or numeral from other names already on file. (See examples below for what differences might distinguish business names)

If filing an Assumed Business Name, this office does NOT check against other Assumed Names on record as the law allows for the same or similar Assumed Business Name to be filed.

Foreign Trust Association and Special Information names are not checked for name availability, nor are they taken into consideration when evaluating name availability of names for other business types.

Trademarks, Service Marks, Collective or Certification Marks cannot be checked for name availability online—please call or visit our office for this service.

Steps used by the Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State to standardize a business name prior to checking availability:

  1. Replace the ampersand character ('&') with the word 'AND'.
  2. Remove any character (including spaces), except for 0-9 and A-Z.
  3. Names will be evaluated up to 250 characters.

The following are examples of differences that acceptably distinguish one business name from another:

The Plural Form of a Word Example: “Fine Line Inc” vs. “Fine Lines Inc.”

Use of Roman Numerals Examples: One (or 1) vs. I; Two (or 2) vs. II

Use of Numerals vs. Words Examples: 1 vs. One; 2 vs. Two; 3 vs. Three

Use of Contractions: Examples: Ass’n vs. Association; Nat’l vs. National; Dep’t vs. Department 4

Obvious Misspellings Examples: Concep vs. Concept; Kwik vs. Quick

Variations of Words Examples: EZ vs. Easy; Hair vs. Hare; America vs. American; Quest vs. Qquest; USA vs. United States of America; Bur-Tech vs. Burr Technology, Inc.; Nsite, Inc vs. Ensight, Inc.

Abbreviations Examples: Mr. vs. Mister; St. vs. Saint; Doctor vs. Dr.

The elimination of Prepositions and Conjunctions Examples: “Into the Night Co. vs. “To the Night Co.”; “Of Women and Children Inc.” vs. “Women and Children Inc.”

Entity Designations Examples: Edwards LLC vs. Edwards Inc.; Thelma Company vs. Thelma Ltd.