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Naming Your Idaho LLC or Corporation

By Lane V. Erickson, Idaho Business Attorney

What’s in a name? This is a question you have to ask yourself when you are preparing to create your own Idaho business entity. Regardless of whether it is a limited liability company (LLC) or a corporation the name of your business is important in a number of different ways. Because of this the name that you choose should be made deliberately after some thought and consideration.

Having represented business clients in Idaho for over 70 years, we have learned that each of our clients, and their businesses, are unique, and need specific guidance and counsel to help them be successful. Our team of attorneys have the experience, skill, and knowledge, to provide sound legal advice to each of our business clients including helping them name their business entity. Our team of premier Idaho business lawyers includes partners Lane Erickson and TJ Budge, and attorneys Nate Palmer and Dave Bagley. We’ve helped numerous business clients make sound business decisions that have helped them and their businesses be successful. We are confident that we can help you too.

The purpose of this article is to talk about the importance of naming your business entity. Keep in mind that this is only a summary of the things that you should be thinking about. If you have questions, we are happy to talk with you during a free consultation where we can answer your questions and help you with all your business needs.

The Name Must Be Unique

The first thing you should do when it comes to creating a business entity is that the name you choose for it must be unique. In other words, you cannot choose to use a name that is already being used by a business.

In the process of registering your business entity with the Idaho Secretary of State’s office you are required to fill out and file a form that identifies the unique name that you will use for your business. The term unique is important for you to understand. The name you use cannot be confusing with the name of a business that already exists.

For example, let’s say that you decide to begin manufacturing customized four-wheel-drive vehicles for people who are interested in backcountry adventures. You cannot name your business Jeep LLC or Jeep Incorporated. The reason for this is that there is already an international company that operates under this business name. If you attempted to register this name with the Idaho Secretary of State’s office, your application would be rejected.

On the other hand, if you chose to name your business Backcountry ATVs or Backcountry Four Wheel Drives or Backcountry Vehicles With either an LLC or Corporation designation after the name that might work. The key is, the name that you choose cannot already be registered as an existing business. If it is, and you attempt to use that name, your application will simply be rejected.

Usually, the easiest way to find out whether a name could or could not be used is to do a thorough search through the Idaho Secretary of State’s office. Additionally, you may also do a general Google or internet search of the business name you are considering. Finally, you may want to learn whether the .com, or .net, or .org extension for the business name you are thinking of using exists that you could obtain and use in your business operations.

The Name Should not be Too Cutesy or Limiting

The second thing that you should consider is that your business name should not be too cutesy or limiting. In other words, it is always better to avoid hard to spell names or names that are goofy.

For example, suppose that you want to start a business that will provide mechanical services to privately owned airplanes. In this situation most people are going to want to know that they are dealing with a professional that they can trust. The reason for this is obvious. These people will be flying the airplane that you provide mechanical services to. They want to make sure that after you fix the airplane it is going to fly right. Because of this, you do not want to use a goofy name for your business that will detract from the professional services you are providing.

Additionally, you may not want to use a geographical location in your name. In the example above, providing mechanical services to privately owned airplanes you likely would not want to use the name of Pocatello Aviation Services. If your business is successful you may want to expand it into other locations or even into other states. In this instance, a more generic name such as Aviation Mechanical Services LLC, or even just Aviation Services LLC would be a better choice if these names are available. These names describe what the business does but also do not limit the geographical location or the ability to expand the services provided.

In some articles on the internet you are advised to come up with a name that is “catchy”. I usually tell clients to avoid trying to do this. It is not that these kinds of names are all bad, but again using a name that is too cutesy may detract from the professionalism you are trying to establish.

Options for Using Additional Names

You also have the option of using additional names for your business as well even after you have registered a name. Many businesses will also use an AKA or a DBA as part of their business name.

For example, maybe your business is in wedding planning. You have named your business Rosie’s Wedding Planning Services LLC. However, after several years of the business you come to learn that everybody simply refers to your business as Rosie’s. Because of this, you may want to use a DBA registration with the actual registered name of your business.

The advantages of using a DBA is that you still have your registered entity, which provides all the protections that an entity can provide, while at the same time simplifying your presentation of your business to the public. In other words, your signs, advertisements, business card, and so forth can simply refer to your business as Rosie’s.

Not all businesses need to worry about using a DBA or an AKA, but the option does exist if you find that it would help your business with its promotions and advertisements or public image.

As you can see, the name you use for your business is sometimes just as important as the business service you provide. If you have questions or concerns about creating an LLC or Corporation in Idaho, or maybe your business, we can help. We have assisted numerous clients in the creation and naming of their business entities that we are confident that we can help you too!

Enlist an Idaho Business Attorney to Help You

Our team of Idaho business lawyers can help you with any of your business structure or operation needs. Whether you are seeking to create a new business or review a current business, we are available to discuss your options and answer your questions at an initial free 30-minute consultation. Call us toll free at 877.232.6101 or 208.232.6101 for a free consultation. You can also email us directly at lane@racineolson.com or stop by our office at 201 East Center Street, Pocatello, Idaho 83201. We will answer your questions and help you solve your Idaho business problems.

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