Wyoming 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 Wyoming business names
A prospective business owner has several steps to take prior to registering a business with the Wyoming Secretary of State. The first steps are to choose a business name and ensure the name is available. The Wyoming Secretary of State makes it easy to determine name availability. To search the database:
- Step 1: Navigate to the Wyoming Secretary of State’s office’s search tool to start entering search criteria.
- Step 2: Enter the business name in the box labeled ‘Filing Name.’
- Step 3: Select the radio button labeled ‘Starts With’ for the search type.
- Step 4: Leave the ‘Filing ID’ box blank.
- Step 5: Click the ‘Search’ button.
- Step 6: Review the results. If the system displays an exact match, the business owner must choose another name. If the system displays a match that is too similar, the business owner must choose another name.
- Step 7: If the system does not display any matches, repeat the search, except choose the radio button labeled ‘Contains.’
How to register a business name in Wyoming
The easiest way to register a new Wyoming business entity is to register online. However, if the business starts with the letter ‘A,’ a business owner must file by paper so that the entity name receives a manual review. For example, if the business name is “A Widget Company” or “A. B. Builders,” the business owner must file by paper.
Once you click the green ‘Start Now’ button, the system will ask you for information regarding the entity. The first question is the entity type – a limited liability company, corporation, limited partnership, or nonprofit corporation.
The questions following the entity type screen vary based on the type of entity the business owner is filing. If a business owner is unsure which entity type is best for her company, she should consult with a business law attorney. The attorney will explain the various tax consequences and which entities provide protection of personal assets from business creditors and lawsuits.
If a business owner must file by paper – or wishes to file by paper, he must choose the appropriate forms and complete them, then mail or deliver them to the Wyoming Secretary of State’s office.
Wyoming trademark/DBA name search
If a prospective business wishes to register a trademark in Wyoming, the business owner should search the trademark database to ensure that the trademark or service mark is not used by another business. To search Wyoming’s trademark database:
- Step 1: Navigate to the Wyoming Secretary of State’s trademark search tool.
- Step 2: Skip the boxes labeled ‘Work Mark,’ ‘Application Number,’ ‘Applicant Name,’ and ‘Initial Filing Date.’
- Step 3: Choose the Goods and Services Class Code from the drop-down menu.
- Step 4: Enter the description of the intellectual property you are searching for in the box labeled ‘Description of Mark.’
- Step 5: Choose the appropriate mark type from the drop-down menu.
- Step 6: Use the other boxes to help narrow the search, if applicable.
- Step 7: Press enter after entering all information.
- Step 8: Review the results to determine trademark or service mark availability.
If a business owner registers intellectual property in Wyoming, it is only protected in Wyoming. If a business owner wishes to protect the intellectual property on a nationwide basis, he must register the intellectual property with the US Patent and Trademark Office. 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.
A business can create a low-cost marketing avenue by creating an online presence, even if the business doesn’t plan on selling its products and services online. A webpage can direct people to the brick-and-mortar business or encourage people to make phone orders.
To check for domain name availability:
- Step 1: Navigate to any domain registry, such as GoDaddy.
- Step 2: Enter the business name in the search box.
- Step 3: Press the ‘Search’ button.
- Step 4: Review the results.
If an exact match exists, you cannot use the name.
If an exact match is for a dot-com only, we do not recommend using the dot-net or another extension, though it is allowable. Customers will become confused and end up on a competitor’s website.
If a result is too similar – enough so that a customer could become confused, choose another name.
Finally, if the domain name is available, reserve the dot-com as soon as possible. We also recommend reserving the dot-net and any other extensions you wish. Other common extensions include dot-org, dot-us, and dot-store.
A business owner can use the extra domain names as landing pages that point to the main dot-com webpage.
Check if the social media name is available
Navigate to the social media platforms you wish to use. Enter the business name in the search box. If the search shows an exact match, choose a different name for the social media account. If the search shows similar names, the business owner can use the business name, but be sure the names are not so similar that it confuses the customer and sends him to a competitor.
Naming considerations for Wyoming business entities
Wyoming requires a business owner to append certain phrases, words, or abbreviations to the business name. The state does not allow exact matches or names that are too similar to names already registered.
Sole proprietorships and partnerships
Business owners who wish to create a sole proprietorship or a general partnership do not have to register with the Wyoming Secretary of State’s office. However, neither a sole proprietorship nor a general partnership protects the business owner’s or partners’ personal assets from business creditors and lawsuits.
If a business owner wishes to have protection under the corporate veil, she must incorporate under another entity that offers that protection, such as a limited liability company or corporation. Even registering a trade name (DBA) does not protect a sole proprietorship or general partnership.
Limited Liability Companies (LLCs)
A business owner who wishes to incorporate as a limited liability company must append one of the following after the business entity name:
- Limited liability company.
- Ltd. liability company.
- Ltd. liability co.
- Limited liability co.
A low-profit limited liability company must append one of the following:
- Low profit ltd. liability company.
- Low profit ltd. liability co.
- Low profit limited liability co.
Business owners who wish to incorporate as a limited partnership must append “limited partnership” at the end of the business name. The business owner cannot abbreviate the words.
Registered limited liability partnerships
Business owners who wish to incorporate as a limited liability partnership must append one of the following to the end of the entity name:
- Registered limited liability partnership.
- Limited liability partnership.
Wyoming’s statutes do not mention using an entity identifier at the end of the business name for for-profit or nonprofit corporations.
How are business licenses obtained in Wyoming?
Wyoming does not require businesses to have a general business license in the state. However, the state does require some businesses to obtain certain licenses and permits. Additionally, business owners should check with local jurisdictions – the county and the city – to determine whether the local jurisdictions require licenses and permits.
Does my business need a registered agent?
If a business must register with the Wyoming Secretary of State, it must have a registered agent. The registered agent ensures the business remains in compliance with state regulations. It also accepts service of process and other legal documents on behalf of the business and ensures the business owner receives the documents in a timely manner.
Does my business need a Federal Employer Identification Number?
If the business has employees, it must have a Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN). In some cases, vendors, creditors, and banks will require a business with no employees to obtain a FEIN before they conduct business. A business owner can apply for a FEIN or ask us to obtain the FEIN for the business.
How do I check for UCC filings (liens)?
You must create an account or contact the Wyoming Secretary of State for UCC filings. If a business owner needs a certified copy, he must contact the Wyoming Secretary of State.
Does my company have to file an annual report?
Yes, if the company is registered with the Wyoming Secretary of State, it must file an annual report or risk administrative dissolution. Annual reports are due on the first day of the anniversary month when you formed the business. For example, a business owner who filed the initial documents on May 31 must file an annual report by May 1 of every year.
Search for business names in your state
Click below to get started