Tips for Choosing a Company Name

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Choosing a company name can be a daunting task. Since there are certain guidelines you must follow for an incorporated company, it's important that you know how to choose a name for your startup company.

Once you have a name in mind, we can do a free name check for you to see if it is available.

Keep in mind there are different naming regulations for Delaware corporations than for Delaware LLCs.

Your Company Name

For Both LLCs and Corporations:

Choosing a company name when starting an LLC or corporation can be a time-consuming and difficult task. There are many things you have to think about because, when you select the name for your company, you create the foundation of your brand identity. You should consider how your company name will look, not only in print but also on a logo, on a sign, on business cards and on social media. Consider what the name evokes or implies; you want it to be professional but also meaningful to your potential customers/clients. Are you communicating the correct philosophy, culture or message to your target audience?

Before you finalize your company name, make sure you can buy the domain name as well; if your company name and your website URL don't match, you could have problems marketing your brand. Your URL address should be as close to your company name as possible, so your customers can easily find you online.

Once you decide on your company's name, Harvard Busines Services, Inc. can complete free Delaware name check for you to make sure it is available.

check a company name for free

LLC vs INC: Company Endings and Abbreviations

Approved suffixes for Delaware limited liability companies

  • LLC
  • L.L.C.  
  • Limited Liability Company

Approved suffixes for Delaware corporations

The name of a Delaware corporation must contain one of the corporate endings below, or abbreviations thereof, with or without punctuation. For example, 'Inc.' (with period) and 'Inc' (without period) are both permitted. Words that are recognized corporate endings in other countries can also be used.

  • Association 
  • Company 
  • Corporation 
  • Club 
  • Foundation 
  • Fund 
  • Incorporated
  • Institute
  • Limited
  • Society
  • Union 
  • Syndicate

If the name of your corporation contains words from any language other than English, you must submit an English translation of the name upon filing.

For example:

  • Sociedad Anonima (S.A.) which basically translates into "public company" or "corporation," is often used in countries such as Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Columbia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, the Marshall Islands, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Uruguay, and the Virgin Islands. 
  • Societe Anonyme is the version often used by companies in Belgium, France, and Luxembourg.  Companies in Switzerland may use Societe Anonyme or Societe Anonima.
  • Aktiengesellschaft or Akteingesellschaften (AG) for publicly traded company or corporation is often used in Germany and Austria.

Requirements for Delaware public benefit corporations

A Delaware public benefit corporation has some additional options beyond the standard corporation endings. These include:

  • Public Benefit Corporation
  • PBC
  • P.B.C.
  • any of the Delaware corporation endings mentioned above

Restrictions on Your Delaware Company Name

Delaware, similar to other states, has restrictions on certain words and phrases which cannot be used in a company name without prior approval.

Corporations:

Your Delaware corporation's name cannot contain the words "bank," "trust," "university" or "college," unless you get pre-approval from the Delaware Banking Commissioner or the Delaware Secretary of Education.

Your corporation's name cannot contain any words that may, in the judgment of the Delaware Secretary of State, be degrading, vulgar or unacceptable. The Secretary of State has full veto power over any name deemed unacceptable.

Your corporation's name must not be the same as any other company name that is formed or reserved in the state of Delaware. However, even the slightest variation can qualify. If you want to form a corporation using all the words in another company's name, you can simply add a Roman numeral or another word to make your name unique.

Limited Liability Companies:

Your Delaware LLC name must not contain the word "bank" or any variation thereof without prior approval of the Delaware Banking Commissioner. It cannot contain a word that purports to do banking business that might mislead the public, in the judgment of the Secretary of State.

Your LLC name cannot contain any words that may, in the judgment of the Secretary of State, be degrading, vulgar or unacceptable. The Secretary of State has full veto power over any name deemed unacceptable.

Your LLC name must not be the same as any other company name that is formed or reserved in the state of Delaware. However, even the slightest variation can qualify. If you want to form an LLC using all the words in another company's name, you can simply add a Roman numeral or another word to make your name unique.

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