Minnesota Secretary of State Business Name Guidelines
The Minnesota Secretary of State provides the following guidelines regarding selecting the name for a new business.
When considering whether your business name idea is taken, you can check the availability of a business name online at http://mblsportal.sos.state.mn.us/
When checking name availability consider the following:
- To be accepted for filing, Business Names must be different by at least one letter or numeral from other names already on file.
- If filing an Assumed Business Name, this office does NOT check against other Assumed Names on record as the law allows for the same or similar Assumed
- Business Name to be filed.
- Foreign Trust Association and Special Information names are not checked for name availability, nor are they taken into consideration when evaluating name availability of names for other business types.
- Trademarks, Service Marks, Collective or Certification Marks cannot be checked for name availability online as this requires a more in depth search by the Office of the Secretary of State to determine whether the name being used by the mark is available.
Steps used to standardize a business name:
- Replace the ampersand character (‘&’) with the word ‘AND’.
- Remove any character (including spaces), except for 0-9 and A-Z.
- Names will be evaluated up to 250 characters.
The following examples will distinguish a business name:
1. The Plural Form of a Word
Example: “Fine Line Inc” vs. “Fine Lines Inc.”
2. Use of Roman Numerals
Examples: One (or 1) vs. I; Two (or 2) vs. II
3. Use of Numerals vs. Words
Examples: 1 vs. One; 2 vs. Two; 3 vs. Three
4. Use of Contractions
Examples: Ass’n vs. Association; Nat’l vs. National; Dep’t vs. Department
5. Obvious Misspellings
Examples: Concep vs. Concept; Kwik vs. Quick
6. Variations of Words
Examples: EZ vs. Easy; Hair vs. Hare; America vs. American; Quest vs. Qquest; USA vs.
United States of America; Bur-Tech vs. Burr Technology, Inc.; Nsite, Inc vs. Ensight, Inc.
Examples: Mr. vs. Mister; St. vs. Saint; Doctor vs. Dr.
8. The elimination of Prepositions and Conjunctions
Examples: “Into the Night Co. vs. “To the Night Co.”; “Of Women and Children Inc.”
vs. “Women and Children Inc.”
9. Entity Designations
Examples: Edwards LLC vs. Edwards Inc.; Thelma Company vs. Thelma Ltd.
This information is also available as a PDF file at http://www.sos.state.mn.us/Modules/ShowDocument.aspx?documentid=5317.