Name Availability

This business record search allows a person to review all business names registered with the Secretary of State. It can also be used to check the availability of a business name.

According to North Dakota law, the Secretary of State is only allowed to file a business name that is not the same as, or deceptively similar to any business name that is already registered with the office.

Although a person doing a records search may not find an exact duplicate of a specific chosen business name, it still could be a deceptively similar name. Therefore, it is very important that documents are first filed with the Secretary of State’s office to make sure that the name is available.

The documents should be filed and the registration of the name completed before it is used to make an investment, enter into a contract, record deeds to property, expend money on signs, stationery, etc., or to make use of it in any manner. If this first step is not taken, it could become expensive and result in unforeseen legal challenges for the filer.

Depending on the specific business structure, there are several ways to register a business name. As they may apply, they include: filing a trade name registration form; filing a partnership fictitious name certificate; filing articles of incorporation; filing documents for a limited partnership, limited liability partnership, limited liability limited partnership, limited liability company, etc.

If a decision hasn’t yet been made about a specific business structure under which to register the name, a person also has the option of filing a Reserve Name Application form. This filing will reserve the chosen name for one year. However, it only reserves the name and does not grant authority for the use of the name until the documents applicable to the business structure are filed.

The Secretary of State’s office wants your business venture to have a successful beginning and is ready to help in any way it can. If you have any questions or need assistance, please contact the Business Division.