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Search Tips

(Revised November 30, 2010)

This informational guide has been created to assist you in your business name search efforts on the Secretary of State's Business Entity database. The entity names used as examples are not necessarily in our records, but used only as possible search terms or results.

Formatting and Indexing

The following rules are applied when the names are stored. When searching the database, you should keep these rules in mind and use them as a guideline(s) for your search criteria.

  1. Remove all occurrences of double quotes ("), commas (,), pound signs (#), Parentheses (()), underscores (_), plus signs (+), forward slashes (/) and periods (.).
  2. Remove any hyphens (-) and concatenate (world-wide becomes worldwide).
  3. Remove "the" when it is the first word.
  4. Consecutive single characters followed by a space, or punctuation are concatenated into one word and should be searched that way (G.P.R. FOUNDATION becomes GPR FOUNDATION)
  5. Two (2) or more characters preceded or followed by a period, the period will be replaced with a space (corp.com becomes corp com)

Use of these stripped words, symbols and characters in your search will give you inaccurate results.

For example,
If you are looking for B-B CONSTRUCTION COMPANY, LLC., type BB CONSTRUCTION. The search will also find variations such as:

  • THE B & B CONSTRUCTION, INC.,
  • WEBB CONSTRUCTION, INC.
  • B.B. CONSTRUCTION, LTD. and
  • B B CONSTRUCTION.

The search results show the entire name as entered on the records even though the names are stored in a formatted system.

Name Availability Search Hints

Use these tips when searching our database to determine if the business name you would like to register is available. 

  • Leave out punctuation marks, symbols (such as the ampersand “&”) and entity designations such as “Inc,” “Limited,” and “LLP.”  For example, if you are checking for the availability of “The B&B Construction, Incorporated” the search term to enter is “BB Construction” or even “BB Construct.”
  • To find variations in tenses or plurals, which does not make a business name distinguishable upon the record, do not search with the appropriate tense or plural.  For example, if you would like to use the name “Advance Security,” search “Advanc Securit” to find variations such as “Advanced Security” or “Advance Securities.”  These names are not distinguishable; therefore you may not register the name “Advance Security.” 
  • If two of the words in the name can be used as a single word, you should conduct two (2) searches entering the name as two words and as one word to ensure the name doesn't already exist.
    For example, LIGHT HOUSE RESTAURANT should be searched as LIGHTHOUSE RESTAURANT and LIGHT HOUSE RESTAURANT.
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