Check the availability of a business name in Oregon through the
Business Name Search application. Choose the Business Name Availability Check search method to determine if someone already has the name registered.
The Name Availability Check looks at the main words in the name and compares them to active businesses on file. If nothing is close, it suggests the name can be registered. The final determination, however, is made at the time of filing.
Your business name must be “distinguishable” from names of all other active entities in the Secretary of State’s business registry. A name is not distinguishable if the names only differ in one or more of the following ways:
- Words that identify the type of business entity, such as "Inc.," "LLC," "Co.," "Corp."
- Punctuation or special characters such as !, &, +, @, /, or #.
- An added “s” to make the word plural, singular, or possessive
- The presence or absence of an article, preposition, or conjunction, or a symbol for that word, including but not limited to: "a," "an," "and," "at," "by," "for," "in," "plus," "the," "to," and "with”
see OAR-160-010-0010 – 160-010-0014.
A business name is distinguishable if it does not exactly copy a name already on record. One word, the order of key words, addition of numbers, creative spelling or even a letter’s difference in a name is enough to make it distinguishable.
Also, unlike other business entities, an Assumed Business Name (ABN) is filed by county, so an identical name may be used if it is registered in a different county. Registering your unique ABN in all Oregon counties will prevent this.
The Name Availability Check also looks for words that might confuse people even if the name is technically available. Words that sound alike but are spelled differently and some abbreviations will make names show up so that you can avoid confusing future customers with a business name that sounds like someone else’s.
Note: Registering a name does not give you the legal right to use it. If someone else has trademarked the name, or it is well known as a similar name, you may be infringing on their rights. For example, you might be able to register “Starbucks Coffee and Tea” with us, but the real Starbucks could still sue you and win.
Likewise, someone may register a name similar to yours but not the same. That doesn’t mean they have the right to use the name. Your right to your business name is established by using the name over time in business and possibly with a trademark. It can be enforced as a civil matter by legal action, but not by the Corporation Division.