Choosing a business name is easier than it sounds; the incorrect name may lead to a slew of legal and business issues. When you create your company entity (LLC or corporation) with the state of California, you must register your business name. You should first decide on the business structure before conducting a business name search to guarantee that the name is available. After that, you must register your entity with the province under your business name. This blog is to explain how to register a business name in California.

Registering your Business Name in California

Registering your business name in California

Following are the steps to register your business in California

  1. Determine the structure of your business: The way you register your firm with the state is determined by the sort of business structure you pick. Whether its sole proprietorships, general partnerships, limited liability companies (LLCs), or corporations. When it comes to personal liability protection, tax responsibilities, and paperwork to maintain the firm in compliance, the things you should consider when choosing a business structure are determined by your needs and goals.
  2. Checking name availability: If you want to register a business in California, be sure it’s distinctive and that no one in the state has used it to create a corporation or owns it as a web address. We highly advise you to verify if your company name is also accessible as a web domain (URL). Even if you don’t intend to establish a company website right now, you may wish to purchase the domain name to avoid others from doing so. If the web domain is listed, the name is likely to appear in a business search as well. Next, use the business database tool provided by the California Secretary of State. This is a crucial step because if you try to file for a name that is already in use, your application will be rejected. Based on your company demands, your search criteria may differ. For example, you’ll need a unique and accessible name to:
  • Formal business entities, such as LLCs and corporations, should be filed.
  • For any business structure, create a DBA name.

In California, informal company forms such as sole proprietorships and general partnerships do not require a state-level name search. If you want to register a fake company name or a DBA name, you’ll need to check the registry to determine if the name you want is distinctive and acceptable.

The database search can yield results for

The database search can yield results for

  • A database search can locate the Date of filing with the Secretary of State.
  • Entity type – Corporation, Limited Liability Company, or non-profit.
  • Status – “FTB Suspended,” “SOS/FTB Suspended,” or “Dissolved” indicates that the business is no longer active in the state. The term “active” denotes that the company is in good standing and that all reports and filing fees are current
  • Agent for Service of Process — Also known as the Registered Agent, this individual is the entity’s single point of contact if the state needs to reach it or if legal action is being taken against it. This is usually one of the owners, and their home address is frequently publicized, making it public knowledge.
  • Entity Address – the primary address of the entity.
  1. Register your business with the state of California: After you’ve decided on a business structure and title, you’ll need to file your formation paperwork with the state of California, which will register your company. You’ll have to submit Articles of Organization with the California Secretary of State to register your California LLC. You can submit your application online, by mail, or in person. For more information, see our article on how to form an LLC in California. The Articles of Incorporation must be submitted with the California Secretary of State in order to register your California corporation.

How to Register a Fictitious Business Name? (Sole Proprietorships and Partnerships)

The Secretary of State’s Business Entity Database contains information about California companies and limited liability companies (LLCs). Sole trader and partnership firms have their names registered with the Clerk’s Office in the county where the firm is situated, rather than centrally. A Fictitious Business Name is a name used by a single proprietorship or partnership to do business under a name other than the owner’s legal name.

California Business Name Restrictions

California business name restrictions

  • The right corporate identification must be included in your firm name: Corporations are denoted by the terms “Corporation,” “Incorporated,” or an abbreviation.
  • May not include the terms “bank,” “trust,” or “trustee,” as well as the phrases “insurer,” “insurance firm,” or any other words implying that it is in the business of issuing insurances and taking on insurance risks.


In legal terms, the term “Brand Name” is referred to as “Trademark.” Any symbol, word, name, device, numbers, or mixture of both that may be graphically represented can be registered as a trademark. A trademark is a one-of-a-kind sign that identifies your products or services from those of others. Service marks are trademarks that are registered for the provision of services. It’s vital to have a distinct, memorable name or insignia so that buyers can readily distinguish your company from its rivals.

You can opt to file for a trademark for your business once you’ve confirmed the validity of your business name and secured it. This usually costs between $225 and $400, plus any legal expenses and a ten-year renewal charge. While this fee may be prohibitively expensive for a startup or small firm, it will provide your organization with countrywide trademark protection backed by federal law. That means you’ll have legal precedence on your side if others try to do business under the same or a similar name as you. This isn’t essential for most small firms unless they plan to expand nationally.


  • Even though unlicensed trademarks used during the sale of goods or services might have some legal protection, the burden of evidence is significantly higher if someone copies or infringes on your work.
  • One can put the sign “®” after the trademark to show that it is officially recognized, contributing to your company’s status.

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