Question: I want to form a new California LLC. I know that the California Corporation Commission will reject the Articles of Organization if the name of my new LLC is exactly the same as an existing California LLC, corporation, limited partnership or tradename. How do I check the records of the California Secretary of State to see if my desired name is available?

Answer: You must search the California Secretary of State’s business search database to see if you can find a company that is identical or similar to the name you want for your new California limited liability company.  If you find a company that has an identical name then you cannot form a California LLC with that name.  Your desired LLC name must also be distinguishable from existing LLC names and not likely to mislead the public.

Don’t search for a name for your new California LLC without first reviewing the California Secretary of State’s LLC name rules.  California Corporations Code Section 17701.08 contains the following California LLC name rules:

  • The name must end with L.L.C., LLC, Limited Liability Co., Limited Liability Company, Ltd. Liability Co. or Ltd. Liability Company.
  • The name must not include trust, trustee, bank, corporation, corp, incorporated, or inc.
  • The name cannot have insurance company, insurer or any other words suggesting that the LLC  issues insurance policies or assumes insurance risks.