A Business Name Availability Check has been added as an option to the Business Name Search process on the Web.
The Oregon Administrative Rule that controls whether a business name is available is OAR-160-010-0010, Guideline for Determining Business and Entity Name Availability. This Administrative Rule describes how words such as "Company" or "Inc." at the end of a name are not to be used to determine name availability. Other rules involve articles, prepositions and conjunctions, punctuation and special characters, capitalization, and such things as the Ampersand (&) used in place of the word "AND," and making words plural.
The Business Name Availability Check has been created to apply these rules when searching for business names. It only returns names, after the rules have been applied, that are similar enough to the requested name that there may be a conflict in availability. It does this by removing the entity identifiers (like Company or Co.) at the end of the names. It changes plural words to singular words. It removes punctuation and special characters. It knows that "&" and "AND" are the same.
Some words sound alike. Words like "Aaron" and "Erin," "Creighton" and "Crayton," and "Marcia" and "Marsha." The Name Availability Check has a phonetics process where these sound-alike words are found.
Sometimes words are abbreviated. "Fishing Vessel" is many times abbreviated "FV," but their uses are similar enough to cause name availability to be questionable. Other common abbreviations include "RN" for Registered Nurse, and "NW" for Northwest. The Name Availability Check is aware of abbreviations.
Some words may be spelled differently but sound enough alike to make availability questionable. These words are called homonyms. The Name Availability Check is aware of words like "AIR" and "HEIR," and "DO," "DUE" and "DEW."
The Name Availability Check only returns active business names of specific business name types.
When there is doubt about a name, the Name Availability Check attempts to return slightly more rather than slightly less. Sometimes the Name Availability Check will bring back names that are close but still ‘distinguishable’. It is the duty of the viewer of the returned names to determine whether the requested name will conflict with any of the already filed business names however, Business Registry staff will make the final determination before the name is filed.
In conclusion, the Name Availability Check is a very restrictive, purpose-built tool that will find names that potentially conflict with a requested business name. Since it is so restrictive it should not be used to try to find a name, but only to check for availability of a business name.