The first step in forming an LLC or corporation in Oklahoma is to verify the business name is available to use. Each business entity that is registered with the Oklahoma Secretary of State must use a unique name. See our step-by-step guide to learn how to quickly search available names by using the state’s Business Entity Database.
Also See: Guide to Starting a Business in Oklahoma
How to do an Oklahoma Corporation or LLC Business Name Search
Step 1: Visit the Business Name Database
Visit the Oklahoma Secretary of State website.
Step 2: Search for a Business Name
Enter the name you would like to use in the “Name” field. In this example, we will look up “Storage Depot” and click “Search.”
Step 3: Review the Results
Searching the registered names, we get a list of several businesses the database thinks is close to “Storage Depot.” Many of them won’t be close at all, so pay the most attention to the names at the top of the list.
To be able to register a corporation or LLC name in Oklahoma, the name must be distinguishable from the other names registered. If you were looking to form an LLC with this name, you wouldn’t be able to since there is already one registered.
To find more information about any of the registered business names, click on the link in the “Filing Number” column to see a detailed report. In this example, we will look up “Storage Depot LLC.”
While the name “Storage Depot” by itself may not be available for an LLC, other variants are such as “Oklahoma Storage Depot” or “Storage Depot of Oklahoma” are. While final approval is still with the Secretary of State, it is likely available to register.
These are the basics of searching for a business name in Oklahoma. Even when the name of the business you want looks like it is available, the Secretary of State will make a final determination at the time of filing to ensure the name you picked isn’t too similar to other registered names.
Something to also keep in mind is that even though each Corporation and LLC name must be unique, it may not stop someone else from using that name since business names for a sole proprietorship or partnership are not registered by the Secretary of State and are not required to be unique. To protect your business name, consider getting a trademark.
Related: Should I trademark my business name?
What information can be looked up in the database?
The database search can find several pieces of information about the business. Some of the highlights include:
- Business Name
- Status – “Active” or “In Existence” means the entity is in good standing, and all reports and filing fees are up to date. Other results include “Inactive” or “Cancelled,” among others. The names of these inactive results may be available to register.
- Corp Type – Corporation, Limited Liability Company. Etc.
- Formation Date – Date the entity was first filed with the Secretary of State
- Registered Agent’s information – An Oklahoma Registered Agent is the singular point of contact for the entity should a legal or tax notice need to be sent to the business. This is often one of the owners, and if their home address is used, that address becomes public information. Many people find this concerning and use a Registered Agent service like Northwest Registered Agent, so their home address isn’t publically listed.
How to Register a Trade Name for Sole Proprietorships and Partnerships
The Secretary of State Business Entity Database provides information on corporations and LLCs registered in Oklahoma. The names of sole proprietorships or general partnerships can be registered with the Secretary of State but are not required to register. This registration can stop another business in the state from using the same name.
A Trade Name, also known as “Doing Business As,” DBA, Assumed Name or Fictitious Name is a name used by a sole proprietorship or partnership and is different from the owner’s legal name.
What are the requirements to name an LLC in Oklahoma?
In addition to the name being unique, the name of the LLC must include a special designator such as Limited Liability Company, LLC, L.L.C., etc., in addition to not using restricted words such as bank or insurance, unless the entity is licensed to operate as such.
Can an LLC name be reserved?
If you want a name but are not ready to register the LLC, you can file the Name Reservation Application. The name reservation will hold a name for up to 60 days, at the cost of $10.
How do I form an LLC?
Before starting your business and forming an LLC, be sure to do the business entity search first to make sure the name is available to use. Once you know the LLC name is available, learn how to form an Oklahoma LLC by reading our step-by-step guide.
While not required in Oklahoma, an Operating Agreement, which contains the rules for how the LLC operates, is a document worth considering, especially for multi-member LLCs.
After forming a Limited Liability Company, be sure to get an Employer Identification Number (EIN). This is a “social security number” for the business. There is no cost to get one through the IRS.
Also, be sure to check for Oklahoma business licenses and permits to make sure the business is legal to operate.