Business Name Search in Hawaii | A Comprehensive Guide

Steve Bennett
Business Formation Expert  |   Fact Checked by Editorial Team
Last updated: 
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Conduct a Business Name Search in Hawaii

Conducting a business name search in Hawaii is an essential step for entrepreneurs and business owners in starting an LLC in Hawaii. A business name search helps you identify whether a desired business name is already in use or if it’s unique and available for registration. Additionally, it allows you to gather information on existing businesses, such as their registration details, legal status, and contact information.

Webinarcare Editorial Team will help you conduct a business name search in Hawaii. You must be guided by all the factors gathered in this article.

What is a Business Name Search?

Business name search in Hawaii is an essential step for entrepreneurs who want to start a Limited Liability Company (LLC). This search helps them to ensure that the name they have chosen is unique, available, and compliant with state laws. The process of searching for a business name in Hawaii involves using the Hawaii business registration system, which allows users to search for registered business names and check for name availability.

Additionally, entrepreneurs also need to check that their chosen name does not infringe on any existing trademarks or copyrights. Conducting a thorough name search helps to prevent legal and branding issues as well as build a strong brand image. In Hawaii, taking the time to properly search for a business name or trademark can help entrepreneurs to set their businesses up for future success. We reviewed some of the Trademark Services in Hawaii that will help you with your business name search.

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How to Conduct a Business Name Search in Hawaii

Before knowing why a business name is necessary, you should now conduct a business name search in Hawaii. Even in any different business structure, conducting a business name search takes time. However, with the help of the information listed in this article, you will get an easier option in finalizing your business name.

Step 1: Access the Business Entity Search Tool

The Hawaii Secretary of State website has a Business Center Search Tool to help you choose a name for your business. This tool can help you determine the uniqueness and availability of a name. Also, keeping a list of backup names is helpful so you can choose a last name after a few repetitions. You can also check out the Hawaii Business Express to access the entity search tool.

Step 2: Perform the Search

On the Hawaii website, check the availability of the proposed business name. The search result will display information about similar businesses if the desired business name is already used. While searching, you can exclude using identifiers such as “LLC” to get more results from different business structures operating under the same name. Conduct extensive research using the provided filters before filing the name with the government.

If you want to register a Trademark in Hawaii, you can also conduct a trademark search on the United States Trademark Database. Check with the Patent and Trademark Office to see if the chosen name is already in use by someone else.

Choosing a Business Name in Hawaii

You now conducted a business search in Hawaii. With what you have searched and listed, you will choose the most suitable business name for your Hawaii business. When searching for a potential business name, follow these steps:

  1. Brainstorm Ideas: Begin by brainstorming a list of potential names that convey your business’s goals and values, and appeal to your target audience. Consider names that are easy to pronounce, spell, and remember.
  2. Be Descriptive But Not Limiting: Choose a name that gives an idea of what your business does or offers without being too specific or limiting future growth. For example, avoid using a specific location or product type in the name if you plan to expand your business or diversify your offerings.
  3. Check for Availability: Use the Hawaii Secretary of State’s business name search tool available at the link provided to check if your desired name is already in use by another registered business entity. Remember that the name should be distinguishable from others to avoid potential legal disputes and confusion.
  4. Consider Domain Name Availability: If you plan to have an online presence, check if the desired domain name is available for your website. Ideally, your domain name should match or closely resemble your business name for consistency and easy online recognition.
  5. Conduct a Trademark Search: To avoid infringing on any existing trademarks or intellectual property rights, conduct a thorough trademark search using the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO) Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS). This will help you identify any potential conflicts with registered or pending trademarks. You can access the Hawaii Trademark Search for more detailed information about trademark searches.
  6. Verify Name Requirements: Ensure your chosen name meets the specific naming requirements for your business type, such as including words like “LLC,” “Corp,” or “Ltd.,” if applicable. Refer to your Hawaii’s business naming guidelines for specific rules and restrictions.

By following these steps and considering the various factors in choosing a business name, you can create a distinct, memorable, and legally compliant name.

Meantime, In Hawaii, if you do not wish to file your business right away but want to hold the name that you have decided on, then you can reserve your business name for 120 days. You must file a name reservation application in the Hawaii Secretary of State by mail or online filing to keep the name.

The Hawaii Secretary of State will review your application and approve the name if it is available and not too similar to any other existing business name. If the name is approved, you will receive a reservation number and an approval letter. When filing the Articles of Organization in Hawaii, to form your LLC, you must include the reservation number.

After reserving an LLC name, you must still form the LLC by filing the Articles of Organization with the Hawaii Secretary of State. The LLC name, contact information, the names of the LLC’s members, and the name and address of the LLC’s Resident Agent must all be included in the Articles of Organization.

File your Articles of Organization online on the Hawaii Secretary of State Online Services page. You may also download the offline file of the name reservation form and submit it with the processing fee to Hawaii Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs – Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, Business Registration Division, 335 Merchant St., P.O. Box 40, Honolulu, HI 96810.

If you are planning to start an LLC in Hawaii, make sure that you choose a business name that is suitable for your business. It is best to hire a legal expert or an LLC Services that will guide you through the process.

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How to File a DBA?

Filing Hawaii DBA (Doing Business As), a fictitious business name, trade name, or assumed name, allows you to operate your business under a different name than your legal name. The process for filing a DBA varies depending on the state or county of your business. You can select a unique and appropriate name for your business that complies with your Hawaii naming guidelines. Ensure the name is not misleading or confusingly similar to other businesses in your area. Afterward, you must search your Hawaii business name database to ensure another business does not already use your desired DBA name. Once you have confirmed the availability of your desired name, you will need to register your DBA with the appropriate Hawaii Secretary of State. 

The registration process typically involves completing an application form, providing the required information about your business, and paying a filing fee. The required information may include your legal business name, address, ownership structure, and the desired DBA name. Hawaii requires you to publish a notice of your DBA registration in a local newspaper to inform the public about your new business name. After the notice has been published for the required time, you may need to provide proof of publication to the Hawaii Secretary of State where you registered your DBA.

In Hawaii, there are several methods, online, fax, email, by mail, or in-person, which costs around $50.

After registering your DBA, update your business records, marketing materials, contracts, and other documents to reflect your new business name. Don’t forget to consult your state or county’s specific DBA filing process, as requirements and procedures may vary.

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Importance of Business Name Search in Hawaii

Before researching how to conduct Hawaii business name search, you must know why having a business name is important. 

A business name is important for several reasons:

  • Legal Identity: The business name is the official legal identity of your Hawaii LLC, which distinguishes it from other businesses. It is a requirement when registering your Hawaii LLC with the Hawaii Secretary of State. This legal identity allows your Hawaii LLC to enter into contracts, open bank accounts, and engage in business activities under its own name.
  • Liability Protection: One of the primary purposes of forming an LLC is to separate the business’s liabilities from its owners’ personal assets. A distinct business name helps establish this separation, reinforcing the limited liability protection the Hawaii LLC structure provides.
  • Brand Identity and Recognition: A unique and memorable business name is crucial for building a strong brand identity and presence in the market. It helps customers recognize and remember your products or services and differentiate your Hawaii LLC from competitors.
  • Legal Compliance: When registering an LLC, you must ensure that another registered entity within your jurisdiction does not already use the business name. Choosing a unique and available name is essential for legal compliance and avoiding potential disputes with other businesses.
  • Professionalism and Credibility: A well-chosen business name can convey professionalism and credibility, boosting customer trust and confidence in your products or services. An unprofessional or confusing name, on the other hand, can have the opposite effect and deter potential customers.
  • Marketing and Advertising: Your Hawaii LLC’s business name plays a significant role in your marketing and advertising efforts. A catchy, memorable name can make your advertising campaigns more effective and increase the likelihood of word-of-mouth referrals.
  • Online Presence and SEO: A chosen business name can improve your Hawaii LLC’s online presence and help customers find you more easily through search engines. A strategic business name can contribute to better online visibility and higher search rankings by incorporating relevant keywords and optimizing your website for search.

The importance of a business name search lies in ensuring its uniqueness and legal compliance and avoiding potential conflicts with other businesses. This process helps to establish a distinctive brand identity, protect intellectual property rights, and maintain a professional reputation in the market.

Is it Possible for Two Businesses to Have the Same Name?

Under certain conditions, two businesses that do not compete with each other may share the same name. However, you may be trying to impose on the trademark of the other competing business if either of the following occurs:

  • The company operates in the same geographical area, or
  • The company name is federally registered.

Furthermore, suppose a company name is considered famous or well-known, for example, Dior or Chanel. In that case, it has broader protection, and no other business, regardless of industry or location, can usually use the mark.

It’s best to avoid using another company’s name to avoid future legal issues. 

Can I Sell or Buy Someone Else’s Trademark?

Before selling your trademark, you must incorporate it into a business. A trademark cannot be sold if it is only registered as a placeholder for future use. The trademark must be visible on all products you sell.

You can buy another person’s trademark (known as “trademark assignment”), but the process is legally complex and costly. To purchase an existing trademark, you must purchase all company assets, product lines, or the entire business associated with the trademark.

What Should I Do If My Desired Business Name Is Already In Use?

If your desired business name is already in use, consider modifying it to make it unique and distinguishable from the existing business. You can also explore alternative names that still convey the essence of your business and comply with state naming requirements.

What Should I Do After Finding an Available Business Name?

After finding an available business name, you can proceed with the necessary steps to register your business with Hawaii Secretary of State office. This may include filing formation documents, such as Articles of Organization or Articles of Incorporation, and paying the required filing fees. Additionally, consider registering your business name as a trademark to protect your brand and prevent others from using a confusingly similar name.

FAQs

How do I search for a business name in Hawaii?
You can search for a business name in Hawaii on the Hawaii Business Registration website.
Do I need to register my business name in Hawaii?
Yes, you need to register your business name in Hawaii to conduct business under that name.
How much does it cost to search for a business name in Hawaii?
It costs $5 to search for a business name in Hawaii.
Are there any restrictions on business names in Hawaii?
Yes, business names cannot include certain words like “corporation” or “incorporated” unless the business is actually incorporated.
How long does it take to approve a business name in Hawaii?
It typically takes about two to three days for a business name to be approved in Hawaii.
Can I change my business name after it has been approved in Hawaii?
Yes, you can change your business name after it has been approved in Hawaii.
Can someone else use the same business name as me in Hawaii?
No, trademarked or reserved business names can only be used by their respective owners.
Can I reserve a business name in Hawaii?
Yes, you can reserve a business name in Hawaii for up to 120 days by paying a $10 fee.
What if I want to register a business name that has already been reserved in Hawaii?
You will need to contact the owner of the reserved business name to see if they are willing to rent, lease, or sell it to you.
How do I know if my business name has been approved in Hawaii?
You can check the status of your business name on the Hawaii Business Registration website.
Can I get a refund if my business name is not approved in Hawaii?
No, the $5 fee to search for a business name in Hawaii is non-refundable.
Do I need to have a business plan to register a business name in Hawaii?
No, you do not need to have a business plan to register a business name in Hawaii.
Can I register my business name if my business is not yet operational in Hawaii?
Yes, you can register your business name even if your business is not yet operational in Hawaii.
Do I need an attorney to register my business name in Hawaii?
No, you do not need an attorney to register your business name in Hawaii.
What if I have a trademarked business name from another state?
You will need to register your trademarked business name with the state of Hawaii to use it in the state.
Are there any additional fees to register a business name in Hawaii?
Yes, there is a $50 fee to register a business name in Hawaii.
Do I need to register my business name with both the state and local government in Hawaii?
No, you only need to register your business name with the state government in Hawaii.
Can I register a business name that is similar to another business name in Hawaii?
No, you cannot register a business name in Hawaii that is confusingly similar to another business name.
Can I register a business name before I incorporate in Hawaii?
No, you must incorporate your business before registering your business name in Hawaii.
Can I change the spelling of a business name when registering it in Hawaii?
It depends on the extent of the changes; you should check with Hawaii Business Registration to see if the changes are acceptable.
Do I need a tax ID number to register my business name in Hawaii?
Yes, you need a tax ID number to register your business name in Hawaii.
How long does it take for a business name to expire in Hawaii?
Business names do not expire in Hawaii; you will need to file dissolution paperwork to cancel a business name.
Can I check the availability of a business name in Hawaii before I register it?
Yes, you can search for the availability of a business name on the Hawaii Business Registration website.
Can I change my registered business name in Hawaii?
Yes, you can change your registered business name in Hawaii by filing an amendment.
Can I register a business name for an unincorporated business in Hawaii?
Yes, you can register a business name for an unincorporated business in Hawaii.
What is a “trade name” in Hawaii?
A trade name is the same as a business name in Hawaii; it is the name that your business will be doing business under.
Can I trademark my business name in Hawaii?
Yes, you can trademark your business name in Hawaii by filing a federal trademark registration application.
What if I don’t register my business name in Hawaii?
You will not be able to legally conduct business under that name in Hawaii if you do not register it.
What is a business name search in Hawaii?
A business name search in Hawaii is a process to check if a specific name is available to be used by a new company.
What is required for a business name search in Hawaii?
At least one keyword or phrase you would like to use in your business name.
Is a business name search in Hawaii required before starting a new business?
No, it’s not required, but it’s strongly recommended to avoid legal issues in the future.
How can I conduct a business name search in Hawaii?
You can visit the Hawaii Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs website to use their search tool.
Can I search for multiple business names at once?
Yes, you can use the wildcard (*) after a keyword to retrieve all matches.
Are there any fees associated with a business name search in Hawaii?
No, it’s free of charge.
Do I need a lawyer to conduct a business name search in Hawaii?
No, you can do it yourself.
How long does it take for a business name search to be completed in Hawaii?
It’s usually completed within minutes using the online search tool.
Can I get a notification if a business name becomes available in Hawaii?
No, you need to check regularly until the name appears on the search tool.
What if I find a similar name during my business name search in Hawaii?
It’s up to you to decide, but it’s usually recommended that you find a unique name to distinguish yourself.
Can I use a name that’s already being used in another state for my business in Hawaii?
No, each state has its own business name registry, and using an out-of-state name could lead to legal consequences.
Can I use slang or offensive words in my business name in Hawaii?
It’s not recommended since it might cause unintended offense to your customers, but it’s not illegal.
Are there any restrictions on using personal names as my business name in Hawaii?
There are no restrictions, but using names similar to public figures could lead to copyright infringement.
Can I change my business name later after incorporation in Hawaii?
Yes, you can file an amendment to your articles of incorporation to change your business name legally.
Can I reserve a unique name with spelling variations in Hawaii?
No, the registry treats similar spellings as similar names.
Can I register a business name that’s similar to my competitor in Hawaii?
The registry won’t block you from using a similar name, but it’s discouraged so that people can easily differentiate your company from your competitors.
Do I need to renew my business name in Hawaii?
No, the registry doesn’t require any renewals on business names.
Can I sell my business name in Hawaii?
Yes, you can sell your name as part of transferring business ownership.
Can I use a business name for multiple businesses in Hawaii?
You can, but it’s not recommended since it might cause confusion among your customers.
Is it okay to have a long business name in Hawaii?
Yes, as long as it’s unique and easy to recall.
Can I reserve my business name by filing an intent to incorporate in Hawaii?
No, Hawaii requires actual incorporation to reserve a business name.
Can I use a non-English business name in Hawaii?
Yes, you can, but you need to get help from a notary.
How many names can I search as an outside business owner outside Hawaii?
It’s not limited.
What types of characters are prohibited in a business name in Hawaii?
Characters that aren’t from the English alphabet.
Can I be fined for using the unapproved name for my business in Hawaii?
Yes.
Can a business name be passed along after business financing in Hawaii?
Yes, you can use your business name as collateral in financing.
Are all new business names filed and approved by the Hawaii Secretary of State?
Yes.
Is a DBA the same as a Trade Name in Hawaii?
Yes.

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Conclusion

Conducting Hawaii business name search is essential for entrepreneurs and business owners in establishing a unique and legally compliant business identity. This process not only helps to avoid potential legal disputes and ensure compliance with state regulations but also plays a critical role in building a strong brand presence in the market. By utilizing the available resources, tools, and guidelines provided by the relevant state or county agencies, business owners can effectively choose and register a business name that stands out from the competition, resonates with the target audience, and contributes to long-term business success.

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