Nevada Business Name Search (Step-by-Step Guide)
Even with the help of business services through the Secretary of State, registering a business has financial consequences. Always discuss business setup with a business attorney.
How to search for Nevada business names
Before a prospective business owner registers a business entity name, the business owner must search the Nevada Secretary of State’s office for name availability. If the search results in an exact match, the business owner cannot use the name. Additionally, if the search results in one or more similar names, the business owner cannot use the name.
For example, if the business name is ABC Widgets and another business is using The ABC Widgets, the business owner would have to change the name. If the entity type is the only part of the name that is different, the name is too similar. The business owner will have to choose another name.
To search the Nevada Secretary of State’s office for name availability:
- Step 1: Navigate to the Secretary of State’s office search tool.
- Step 2: Select the radio button for ‘Starts With’ for the search type.
- Step 3: Enter the business name in the box labeled ‘Name.’
- Step 4: Leave the following boxes empty: Entity Number, NV Business ID Number, Officer Name, Registered Agent Name.
- Step 5: Ignore the boxes listed in the “Marks Search Criteria.”
- Step 6: Ensure the radio button for ‘All’ is selected under the “Advanced Search Option.”
- Step 7: Select “All” for ‘Type’ under “Advanced Search Option.”
- Step 8: Select “All” for ‘Status’ under “Advanced Search Option.”
- Step 9: Click the ‘Search’ button.
Browse the names for an exact match and similar names. If no exact matches or similar names exist, you are ready to take the next steps.
How to register a business name in Nevada
Once a business owner finds a business name that is best for her company – and ensures it is available across platforms – or has chosen alternate names – the business owner is ready to choose an entity type and register the business.
If a business owner is not sure which entity is best, he should seek advice from a business law attorney. Entities are taxed in different ways and provide different levels of protection from business creditors and lawsuits for personal property.
To register a business entity, the business owner must log on to Nevada’s SilverFlume Business Portal.
Nevada trademark/DBA name search
Some business owners trademark a logo, business name, or other intellectual property. If a business owner wishes to file a trademark, he must search the trademarks database to ensure the intellectual property is not being used by someone else. To search the trademarks database:
- Step 1: Navigate to the trademark search tool on the Secretary of State’s page.
- Step 2: Select the radio button for ‘All Words.’
- Step 3: Ignore the boxes under “Business Entity Search Criteria.”
- Step 4: Leave the boxes for ‘Mark Number’ and ‘Applicant Name’ blank.
- Step 5: Choose the appropriate category from the drop-down marked ‘Classification.’
- Step 6: Enter additional information in the box marked ‘Goods and Services.’ This box is optional.
- Step 7: Click the ‘Search’ button.
Review the search results to determine whether another business entity filed intellectual property that is an exact match or similar to the business’s intellectual property. If not, you can register the intellectual property in Nevada. However, intellectual property registered in Nevada is protected only in Nevada. The business owner must file the intellectual property with the US Patent and Trademark Office to protect it throughout the country.
If a business owner wishes to determine whether a business name or logo has been trademarked at the federal level, search the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
Check if the domain name is available
Before a business registers its name, the business owner should take additional steps to ensure that the name is available for domain and social media use. While the domain name and social media accounts or pages do not have to have the same name as the business, it is better for marketing purposes. If another person or entity is already using the name, a prospective business owner can choose another name to register at the state level or use a different name that describes the business for the domain name and social media accounts.
To check domain name availability, navigate to any domain registry, such as GoDaddy. Enter the business name in the search box. If the system finds an exact match, it will notify you that the name is unavailable. Some domain registries will suggest alternate names.
If the name is available, we recommend registering the dot-net and dot-org extensions in addition to the dot-com extension. The business owner can create landing pages on the dot-net and dot-org extensions that point to the dot-com main site.
If a domain name is not available
If the name is not available as a dot-com but is available as a dot-net, we do not suggest using the dot-net name. It is too easy for customers to confuse the two sites and end up on the competitor’s website.
Check if the social media name is available
Creating social media accounts allows a business inexpensive and free advertising. To search for name availability on any social media platform, enter the business name in the search box. If the name is available, create a social media account as soon as possible.
Since social media platforms do not follow the rules for business names, and because people from all over the world are on social media, anyone can use any business name. A company in another state or on the other side of the world could have the same business name. Using a descriptive name for the company’s social media account is one way around name unavailability.
Naming considerations for Nevada business entities
Nevada requires certain naming conventions, including restricting words.
Sole proprietorships and partnerships
Business owners who choose to do business as a sole proprietor or general partnership do not need to register with the Nevada Secretary of State’s office. However, if the sole proprietorship or general partnership uses a fictitious name, the business must register the name with the county where the business is located.
Sole proprietorships and general partnerships do not provide protection of personal assets from business creditors and business lawsuits. If a business owner would like personal asset protection, she should choose a different entity.
Limited Liability Companies (LLCs)
Business owners that choose a limited liability company must append one of the following to the end of the business name:
- Limited liability company.
- Limited-liability company.
- Limited company.
A business owner can also abbreviate ‘company’ as “Co.”
Business owners that choose to incorporate as a limited partnership must append one of the following to the business name:
- Limited-liability partnership.
- Registered limited-liability partnership.
Nevada Statutes do not dictate that a corporation must add certain words or phrases after its name. However, it does state that the name must be distinguishable. Nonprofits follow the same naming conventions.
How are business licenses obtained in Nevada?
Nevada companies must obtain a state business license from the Nevada Secretary of State’s office. Even sole proprietors and other entities not required to register the business with the Secretary of State must obtain a business license.
Does my business have to have a registered agent?
Yes. If the business is registered with the Secretary of State, it must have a registered agent. The registered agent accepts service of process and other legal documents on behalf of the business. It also ensures the business remains compliant with state laws.
Does my business have to have a Federal Employer Identification Number?
Only businesses with employees are required to obtain a Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN). However, some banks, creditors, and vendors might require a business with no employees to obtain a FEIN. A business owner can apply for a FEIN herself, or we can obtain the FEIN for the business.
How does a business owner find out if a creditor filed a tax lien against the business or business property?
The business owner must log in to her SilverFlume account to search the UCC database.
Does a Nevada business have to file an annual report?
Yes. Any business registered with the Nevada Secretary of State must file an annual report or risk having the business administratively dissolved. If the business owner is late, the Secretary of State could also charge late fees before allowing the business to reinstate.
Where does a business owner find forms to incorporate?
Business owners can download several forms from the Nevada Secretary of State’s office.
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