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Business Services Division

Business Services Division > Your Business Starts Here! > STARTING A BUSINESS > Chapter 4 - Selecting a Business Name Chapter 4 - Selecting a Business Name

Indiana Law requires that the name of a Corporation, L.L.C., L.P., and an L.L.P. must be distinguishable from the names of other businesses of the same type on the records of the Secretary of State's office. To determine if a particular name is available conduct a name availability check via our website. [click here] This is a preliminary check only. You should not rely, in any way, upon this preliminary information. If the name is available, you may either file an application  to reserve the name for 120 days ($10.00 online fee) or file documents to organize the business under that name. You ask what is the purpose of the Check Name Availability search? The Check Name Availability search helps the user determine if a business entity legal name may be available for use. It is only a preliminary search, meaning the name cannot be guaranteed as available until the final processing is completed at the time of filing.

We offer some Check Name Availability search tips. When performing searches, use the partial word search function. This will return a greater number of variations and will allow you to compare your proposed name to names which are already in our database. Use only the singular forms of your proposed name when performing your search. This would have the effect of returning plurals if the partial word search is used. This effect is desired because singulars are indistinguishable from plurals and possessives for Indiana Secretary of State registrations purposes. And...
When you are searching for information on a company which has "and" or "&" as a part of its name, you may need to perform your search using both cases in order to produce satisfactory results.

Following are the guidelines our office uses when checking for name availability at the time of processing a filing:

A name is distinguishable if:

a. it contains different letters, numerals or words.
b. it has a different sequence of letters or numerals from other names on the Secretary of State's records.
c. if the roots of the words are the same but the words are in a different order.

The following are not distinguishing characteristics:

a. the choice of the word indicating corporateness, e.g. corporation, inc., etc.
b. the use of articles such as "the", "an" or "a"
c. differences in punctuation
d. differences in capitalization
e. plurals or possessives
f. hyphenation or combining words
g. the words "and" and "&" are interchangeable upon the records of the Secretary of State
h. numbers in arabic, roman or as a word are treated the same.

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