Question: I plan on forming a new California limited liability company in the near future. How do I prevent somebody from taking my desired name before I form the LLC?

Answer: Reserve the desired name with the California Secretary of State. When approved, you will have the exclusive right to use the name for a California LLC for 60 days. Before filing a name reservation you must review the California Secretary of State’s  LLC name rules and then search its business search database for an existing LLC name that is the same or similar to your desired name. If you find a “good” name then file a name reservation on the CSOS’ Name Reservation Request Form.

The California Secretary of State will reject a name reservation if the name is “likely to mislead the public” or not “distinguishable” from an existing LLC name or unexpired name reservation.  The name rules are set forth in California Corporations Code Section 17701.08:

Warning:  Even if you reserve the name the California Secretary of State may reject the Articles of Organization because of the name.

Bottom line:  Review the naming rules and search your desired name on the CSOS’ business search database, but don’t waste the time or money to reserve the name unless your sole purpose is to prevent somebody else from using your desired name.