The Florida Department of State's website features a database that can be used to search the names of all registered businesses in the state. This easy-to-use tool can be very useful if you are looking for ideas for an LLC name or need to determine if the name you want to use is available.
In general, you need to observe the following naming guidelines when choosing a name for your Florida LLC:
Before you attempt to register your LLC name in Florida, it's important to choose a name that is unique. There are a couple of reasons for this:
You, as the business owner, are ultimately responsible to ensure that your chosen LLC name does not infringe upon any third-party rights.
Before you register your chosen LLC name with the state of Florida, you want to check the state's register of business names to see if the name is already registered by another business. If the name is already in use, you will be unable to register it for your LLC.
To conduct a name search, follow these steps:
To perform a national business name search, you can check trade directories and phone books of major cities across the country. Brands & Their Companies is a two-volume set of names compiled from many sources by publisher Thomson Gale.
You can also carry out an internet search. Simply google your chosen business name to see who else is using the same or a similar name. Even if a Google search for the exact name comes up clean, it is best to avoid names that are similar to other well-known companies, regardless of whether or not they seem to be doing business in Florida.
Just because you register your LLC name with the state does not necessarily mean that no other business can use that name. If you are looking for that type of protection, consider registering your LLC name (along with your logo, tagline, etc.) with the USPTO. There are plenty of guides, suggestions, and complete instructions on the USPTO's website and you can also consult with a qualified attorney for help with this.
The key point here is that registering a trademark with the USPTO helps give you legal protection for your LLC name, while registration with the state does not necessarily do that. So consider doing both.
Choosing a Florida LLC name can be tricky and there is no substitute for good legal advice. So, if you have any trouble coming up with a qualified Florida LLC name, come across any potential legal issues in the state of Florida or nationwide, or if you have plans to expand your business globally, you should consult with a qualified business law attorney.