What you name your company is an important decision, and it can have consequences far into the future. I have discussions with entrepreneurs all the time about how trademark law affects their companies’ names. In this post I’ve collected some of the information entrepreneurs need to consider when they are deciding on what to name their companies.
When you organize your LLC or incorporate, you file articles of organization or incorporation with the secretary of state under a particular name. This name appears on the face of the certificate of organization or incorporation, and it’s your company’s legal name.
In each state only one company can have a particular legal name. So if a company of that name (or one very similar) already exists in the state of your choice, you can’t organize under that name. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t operate your business under that name. That’s where fictitious names come in.