How to Search Available Business Names in Delaware

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Quick Reference

Whether you’re researching the availability of a business name or checking the status of a business entity, find the information you need from the Delaware Division of Corporation’s website.

The Division of Corporations Business Entity Database provides information for general partnerships, corporations and LLCs registered in Delaware.  The names of sole proprietorships are not centralized and are registered at the Prothonotary’s Office in the counties where the business transacts business.

There is no fee for searching the database.

Also See: Guide to Starting a Business in Delaware

What information can be looked up?

The database search can find information on:

  • Date of Formation
  • Entity Name
  • Secretary of State File Number
  • Entity Kind – Corporation, Limited Liability Company, etc.
  • Entity Type such as general (most businesses), bank, closed corp, DISC corp, professional association, general partnership, regulated investment corp, LLC, LLC, non-profit or religious.
  • Status – Good standing means all reports and filing fees are up to date.
  • Residency – Domestic or Foreign (Difference between a Domestic or Foreign entity.
  • Registered Agent’s information – A Delaware 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 listed.

How to do a Delaware Business Name Search

  1. Visit the Delaware Division of Corporation’s website.
  2. Next, read the disclaimer and check the box stating you understand the disclaimer.
  3. Then select the “Entity Kind”  You can choose from “Corporation”, “Statutory Trust”, “Limited Partnership”, “Limited Liability Partnership”, “Limited Liability Company” a “General Partnership”.
  4. Next, enter the name of the business you would like to use.  In this example, we will look up an LLC with the name “Sew What”.  Click “Search” to see if the name is available.

How to do a Delaware Business Name Search

When we search “Sew What” a message saying “The name is not available for reservation” comes up.  If we want to look at the details of the business that has registered the business of “Sew What LLC”, click on the “Search” button.

Delaware Business Entity Search

You can click on all the entity names that come up in your search.  In this example there is one result.  Clicking on the link reveals the following entity details.

Delaware Business Entity Details

An example of a search with an available name is “Sew What Tailors LLC”.  Entering the name in the search field and clicking “Search” shows:

These are the basics of searching for a business name in Delaware.  Even when the name of the business you want is available, the Division of Corporations 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 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.

How to Register a Trade Name (Sole Proprietorships and Partnerships)

To register, a sole proprietorship or partnership operating their business under a name that is different from the owner’s legal name will register for a Trade Name, also known as “Doing Business As,” DBA, Assumed Name, or Trade Name.

Related: How to register a Trade Name in Delaware

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 a Delaware LLC.

An Operating Agreement is required in Delaware.  This document lists the rules for how the LLC operates.

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.

After forming the LLC, Delaware business licenses and permits may still be necessary.