Business Name Search in Michigan | A Comprehensive Guide


Steve Bennett
Steve Bennett
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Conduct a Business Name Search in Michigan

Conducting a business name search in Michigan is an essential step for entrepreneurs and business owners in starting an LLC in Michigan. 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 Michigan. You must be guided by all the factors gathered in this article.

What is a Business Name Search?

Business name search in Michigan 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 Michigan involves using the Michigan 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 Michigan, 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 Michigan that will help you with your business name search.

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How to Conduct a Business Name Search in Michigan

Before knowing why a business name is necessary, you should now conduct a business name search in Michigan. 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 Michigan 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 Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs to access the entity search tool.

Step 2: Perform the Search

On the Michigan 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 Michigan, 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 Michigan

You now conducted a business search in Michigan. With what you have searched and listed, you will choose the most suitable business name for your Michigan 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 Michigan 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 Michigan 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 Michigan’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 Michigan, 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 6 months. You must file a name reservation application in the Michigan Secretary of State by mail or online filing to keep the name.

The Michigan 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 Michigan, 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 Michigan 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 Michigan 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 Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs – Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, Corporations, Securities & Commercial Licensing Bureau — Corporations Division, P.O. Box 30054, Lansing, MI 48909.

If you are planning to start an LLC in Michigan, 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 Michigan 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 Michigan naming guidelines. Ensure the name is not misleading or confusingly similar to other businesses in your area. Afterward, you must search your Michigan 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 Michigan 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. Michigan 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 Michigan Secretary of State where you registered your DBA.

In Michigan, there are three methods, online, by mail, and in person filing, which costs around $25 for LLCs and $10 for LPs.

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 Michigan

Before researching how to conduct Michigan 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 Michigan LLC, which distinguishes it from other businesses. It is a requirement when registering your Michigan LLC with the Michigan Secretary of State. This legal identity allows your Michigan 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 Michigan 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 Michigan 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 Michigan 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 Michigan 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 Michigan 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

What is the best way to search for a business name in Michigan?
The best way to search for a business name in Michigan is to use the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) website.
How can I check if a business name is already taken in Michigan?
You can check if a business name is already taken in Michigan by using LARA’s Business Entity Search.
What information do I need to search for a business name in Michigan?
To search for a business name in Michigan, you will need the name of the business.
Is it free to search for a business name in Michigan?
Yes, it is free to search for a business name in Michigan using LARA’s Business Entity Search.
Can I reserve a business name in Michigan before I officially register my business?
Yes, you can reserve a business name in Michigan for 6 months before you officially register your business.
How much does it cost to register a business name in Michigan?
It costs $25 to register a business name in Michigan.
Can I register for a business name online in Michigan?
Yes, you can register for a business name online in Michigan using LARA’s Online Business Center.
How long does it take to register a business name in Michigan?
It typically takes 5 business days to register a business name in Michigan.
Can I search for a business name in Michigan using keywords?
Yes, you can search for a business name in Michigan using keywords.
Do I need a business license to register a business name in Michigan?
It depends on the type of business you are starting. Some businesses require a license, while others do not.
What is an Michigan Assumed Name?
An Michigan Assumed Name is a name that is different from the legal name of a business and is used for specific purposes.
How can I register for an Michigan Assumed Name?
You can register for an Michigan Assumed Name by filing a certificate with LARA.
What is the fee for registering an Michigan Assumed Name in Michigan?
The fee for registering an Michigan Assumed Name in Michigan is $10.
Can I search for an Michigan Assumed Name in Michigan using LARA’s website?
Yes, you can search for an Michigan Assumed Name in Michigan using the Business Entity Search on LARA’s website.
How long does it take to register an Michigan Assumed Name in Michigan?
It typically takes 5 business days to register an Michigan Assumed Name in Michigan.
Who can register an Michigan Assumed Name in Michigan?
Anyone can register an Michigan Assumed Name in Michigan, as long as it is not misleading or in conflict with an existing name.
Do I need to renew my Michigan Assumed Name registration?
Yes, you need to renew your Michigan Assumed Name registration every 5 years.
What happens if I do not renew my Michigan Assumed Name registration?
If you do not renew your Michigan Assumed Name registration, your name will be removed from the registration database.
What if I need to change the name of my business in Michigan?
If you need to change the name of your business in Michigan, you will need to file an Articles of Amendment with LARA.
Can I trademark my business name in Michigan?
Yes, you can trademark your business name in Michigan. Trademarks are registered through the Michigan Secretary of State.
What is the fee to trademark a business name in Michigan?
The fee to trademark a business name in Michigan is $15.
Can I use a business name if it’s already trademarked in Michigan?
No, you cannot use a business name if it is already trademarked in Michigan. You could face legal action from the trademark owner.
Can I change my registered business name in Michigan?
Yes, you can change your registered business name in Michigan by filing an Articles of Amendment with LARA.
How much does it cost to change my registered business name in Michigan?
It costs $25 to change your registered business name in Michigan.
Can I transfer my registered business name to another person in Michigan?
Yes, you can transfer your registered business name to another person in Michigan by filing a Certificate of Transfer with LARA.
Is a DBA the same thing as a business name in Michigan?
Yes, a DBA (which stands for ‘doing business as’) is the same thing as a business name in Michigan.
What is required for me to file a DBA in Michigan?
You will need to fill out a Certificate of Assumed Name form and file it with LARA.
How do I renew my DBA in Michigan?
To renew your DBA in Michigan, you will need to file a new Certificate of Assumed Name form every 5 years.
Can I cancel my DBA in Michigan if I change my mind?
Yes, you can cancel your DBA by filing a Certificate of Cancellation of Assumed Name with LARA.
What is the first step to conducting a business name search in Michigan?
The first step is to visit the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) website.
Can I conduct a business name search for free in Michigan?
Yes, you can search for business names on the LARA website for free.
Do I need to register with the state to conduct a business name search in Michigan?
No, you do not need to register to search for business names in Michigan.
How many businesses are registered in Michigan?
As of 2021, there are over 900,000 registered businesses in Michigan.
Are business names on the Michigan website updated regularly?
Yes, the website is regularly updated with the most current information.
Can I reserve a name for my business in Michigan?
Yes, you can reserve a name for your business for up to six months for a fee of $10.
How long does a business search take in Michigan?
A business search in Michigan can take as little as a few minutes.
Are there any restrictions on business names in Michigan?
Yes, there are certain words that cannot be used in business names in Michigan without approval from the state.
Can I search for business names in Michigan by location?
Yes, you can search for businesses by city, county, or region on the LARA website.
Can I search for dissolved businesses in Michigan?
Yes, you can search for dissolved businesses in Michigan on the LARA website.
How do I check if a business name is available in Michigan?
You can enter the business name in the search box on the LARA website to see if it is available.
What types of businesses are registered in Michigan?
Michigan has a wide range of businesses registered, including corporations, LLCs, sole proprietorships, and partnerships.
Can I search for trademarked business names in Michigan?
No, you cannot search for trademarked business names in Michigan on the LARA website.
Can I search for nonprofit organizations in Michigan?
Yes, you can search for nonprofit organizations in Michigan on the LARA website.
Can I see the status of a business in Michigan?
Yes, you can see the current status of a business on the LARA website.
Are there any requirements for a business name in Michigan?
Yes, business names in Michigan must not be too similar to existing business names or include certain prohibited words.
How long does it take to get approval of a business name in Michigan?
Michigan does not require approval for business names, but registration can take a few days to process.
Can I search for foreign businesses in Michigan?
Yes, you can search for foreign businesses in Michigan on the LARA website.
How do I know if a business name is protected by trademark in Michigan?
You can check the U.S. Trademark search database to see if a business name is protected by a trademark.
Can I receive assistance with a business name search in Michigan?
Yes, you can contact the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs for assistance with a business name search.
Can I tell who owns a business in Michigan from the website?
Yes, you can see information on who owns a business on the LARA website.
Can I change my business name in Michigan later?
Yes, you can change your business name at any time in Michigan as long as it meets the state requirements.
How do I check if a business name is available countrywide?
You can check availability of your business name at an online trademark registration service that searches across the national library, federalist files and 50 state databases.
Should I trademark my business name in Michigan?
It may be advisable to trademark your business name in Michigan for added protection.
What information does a business name search in Michigan provide?
A business name search in Michigan provides business identification number, name, and current status.
Can I search for business names by industry in Michigan?
No, you cannot search for business names by industry in Michigan.
Can I trademark a business intended to use outside Michigan but is a Michigan business?
Yes, you can trademark a Michigan business under federal law even if it is intended for use outside of the state.
Can I conduct a business name search in Michigan in Spanish or another language?
No, the LARA website for business name search is available only in English.
Can I reserve a domain name in Michigan with a business name search?
No, a domain name search and reservation is separate from a business name search in Michigan.

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Conclusion

Conducting Michigan 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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