If you decide to start an Illinois LLC, you must choose a name for your future company that reflects its big idea. When you answer the question: “What is the nature of my company, and what do I offer people?”, you will find a successful and unique name. As a result, your business in Illinois will attract people’s attention and grow into a dream business.
You have several variants of your future company’s name. At this point you should check the availability of every desired entity name using an LLC name search at the state’s Business Entity Database. It will help you quickly find out if the name is free to promote a product or service in the state.
You might get lucky and it will be free. In that case, there will be no obstacles to further registration. But, what if the name is already in use?
Reasons to Perform an LLC Name Search
During Illinois LLC name registration, it is also checked for uniqueness. If it does not meet state requirements, your company will not be registered. Search for a name can help you see its status in the state you are going to operate.
In addition, there are several other reasons you might search for a name:
Finding Similar Names
You want to stand out in the eyes of potential customers, and not to be associated with other companies. Therefore, you can find out about a competitor who has a similar business name. Maybe there is an unscrupulous company under a similar name, which will tarnish your business as well. This may be a reason to find a new one.
Checking Your Business Status
You will need the search to track the business’ good standing. State agencies can also check the existing name to see the reputation of Illinois LLC and the Articles of Organization, which contains basic information about the company.
Registered Agent and Office Information
A name search helps you find an Illinois registered agent name. You need this to find a business service of process. The search will also provide you with the office address of a registered agent.
Maintaining Current Business Information
During your business activity, modifying LLC’s information may be required. For example, for changing registered agent and confirming them with the Secretary of State.
Search for a name makes it easy to find the company in the state records and get access to the basic information.
How to Perform an Illinois LLC Name Search
The search is helpful in checking name availability, and looking for information about the company. There are a few simple steps you can follow to do this:
- To find name availability, choose Corporation/LLC Search;
- Click “Continue.” If the lines are empty, congratulations! You are in luck, name is available;
- Enter your desired name. You will see a list of all companies that contain the keyword or partial word. Then you can learn about their reputations and consider distinctive features for yourself.
The Electronic Name Availability Inquiry Form is easy to use. You can check the name you chose and change it, if needed, and then do the search again. When it is free, you can reserve it up to 90 days in the business database.
You can also apply to the Secretary of State’s office to confirm that your name is available in all its three options. After that, you will receive an official response, based on the specific business.
The Secretary of State also stores information about every registered Illinois business. You can enter the name of the company you are interested in, even if you don’t know it exactly. The search will show you all the options with similar names. Here you have the opportunity to read the Articles of Organization of each of them, and find out more about the company you plan to do business with.
What If My Name Is Unavailable?
But what to do if your name is already in use? There are several possible solutions:
- If the domestic (formed in Illinois) company has already used a name you like, all you have to do is come up with a new one. Start brainstorming ideas, and think of a business name that will not be similar to the already registered.
- If the Corporation/LLC Search shows that the desired name is already registered in another state, you may file an Application to Adopt, Change, Cancel or Renew an Assumed Name to create a DBA. Foreign businesses operating under the name, which is used in Illinois, may register an assumed name and continue to use it in Illinois. Creating an application for Admission to Transact Business will allow you to foreign qualify in that state only.
No matter how much you want it, unfortunately, it is impossible to register a company name that is already used by another company.
How to Make an Illinois LLC Name Distinguishable
How can you make your business name unique? First you need to learn the Illinois naming requirements.
- Use one of the terms “Limited Liability Company,” “L.L.C.,” or “LLC”;
- The name should not contain any of the following terms: “Corporation,” “Corp.” “Incorporated,” “Inc.,” “Ltd.,” “Co.,” “Limited Partnership” or “LP”;
- Do not use any terms that imply organization for the purpose of insurance;
- Do not use designations associated with government agencies, such as “Treasury,” ” State Department”, etc;
- The name must be distinguishable and available within the Illinois Secretary of State records.
What does it mean to have a “distinguishable” name? The Illinois State Code, Section 4.05 states that the following changes are not enough to make a name unique:
- The use or lack of articles (“the”, “a”, “an”) and conjunctions (“and”, “but”, “or”, etc.);
- Changing lowercase letters into capital letters;
- Spelling out a number instead of using a numeral;
- Abbreviations that are consonant with existing names;
- Designators like LLC or L.L.C.
Fully distinguishable name is a unique name. It is necessary not only for drafting the documents, but also for creating a brand with an individual history and character.
What to do after choosing a name for an LLC
The next steps depend only on your individual plan to start your business. If you are ready to register your company, file your Articles of Organization. When you have looked for a free name for your future business, you can reserve your LLC name. This will guarantee that you’ll get it, once you’ve prepared the Articles of Organization. To proceed to reserve, fill out a Name Availability Form, and mail it to the Application to Reserve a Name. The cost will be $25.