The Name Game: How Much Do You Know About Name Availability?

By: Teri Mayor, COGENCY GLOBAL INC. on Thu, Dec 15, 2016

CompanyNameAvailability_81918900_S.jpgCompany, Company, Bo-Bompany, Banana- Fanna -Fo Fompany, Fee Fi Mo-Mompany, Company! Okay, maybe the word “company” isn't quite as catchy as “Shirley” when it comes to silly songs…But bad song lyrics aside, what a company decides to call itself is tremendously important. The name should be catchy and be one that is shorthand for who that company is and what it does. Because a company's name is so important to its identity, there are lots of different rules and laws about what companies are allowed to call themselves.

How much do you know about this important subject?  Take our quiz and find out!


1. Corporate names are protected in every state, no other person or entity can use the same name in that state.

True or False?


2. When an entity from one state registers to do business in another, they can always use the name they have in their home state, due to the reciprocity clause for corporate names.

True or False?


3. When a corporation voluntarily uses a name other than its true name, this is called:

A. Assumed Name

B. Fictitious Name

C. Alternate Name

D. Trade Name

E. All of the above


4. When a corporation has to use a name other than its true name, because its true name is not available, this is called:

A. Forced Fictitious Name

B. Corporate Indicator

C. Available Name

D. None of the above


5. Where is it legally possible for an LLC and a corporation to have the same name?

A. Delaware

B. Kansas

C. California

D. Texas


6. If a name is federally trademarked, which of the following is true?

A. The level of protection is the same as if the company reserved the name in Delaware.

B. The name is automatically available as a corporate name in all 50 states

C. You still may not be able to register the name in a given state.

D. The name is automatically trademarked in all 50 states


7. Which of the following is true in all 50 states?

A. A corporation or LLC cannot use an assumed name or trade name if that name is already in use.

B. A corporation or LLC cannot adopt a name that will mislead the public as to its purpose, such as a name that implies it is a government agency.

C. If the proposed name contains additional words, such as a geographical location, it will be considered different from an existing name.

D. A corporation cannot adopt a name that contains the word “insurance” unless it provides consent from that state’s Insurance Department.


8. In every state, an unavailable name can be used if the company having the existing name gives written consent.

True or False?                                        

9. Decide whether the proposed names below would conflict with the existing names in the states listed: 



Existing Name

Proposed Name


ABC Manufacturer, Inc.

ABC Manufacturers, Inc.

New York

ABC Manufacturer, Inc.

ABC Manufacturers, Inc.


ABC Manufacturing, Inc.

ABC Manufacturing of DE, Inc.


ABC Manufacturing, Inc.

ABC Manufacturing of DE, Inc.


10. Every state has procedures so a company can register an assumed or trade name in addition to its true corporate name.

True or False?









  1. Corporate name protection is limited. The name is protected from use by other entities registering in that state, but does not automatically protect the name from use by non-registered entities (general partnerships, sole proprietors, etc.)
  2. For an entity to use the name it uses in its home state, that name must be available in the state where it is registering.
  3. (e) All of these terms are used in various states.
  4. (a) Forced Fictitious Name. It can also be called many other things.
  5. (c) California houses LLCs and corporations in separate databases and does not cross check the name, so this would be allowed there.
  6. (c) Federal Trademarks have no bearing on the availability of the name of a corporation or LLC.
  7. (b) All 50 states have rules against this.
  8. Many states do not allow for the use of a conflicting name, even with written consent.
  9. DE: Not a Conflict

            NY:   Conflict

            IL:     Not a Conflict

            TX:    Conflict (consent needed)

  1. A few states (AL, KS, NM) do not have this registration process.


This article is provided for informational purposes only and should not be considered, or relied upon, as legal advice. 

Topics: Company Formation and Filing Considerations