Whether you’re searching for the right business name for your Massachusetts S Corp or Massachusetts C Corp, we can help. We’ve got all the information you need on how to conduct an MA Secretary of the Commonwealth business search, plus business naming rules, DBAs and trademarks.
General Rules for Corporation Names
These rules generally apply to all corporations, wherever they're formed.
The name you select cannot be in use by any other business in the state. This is why it's so important to perform a Massachusetts State corporation search before you begin your incorporation paperwork.
It’s not enough for your corporation name to be unique. It also cannot be comparable to the name of another business in the state. In addition, you cannot use any of the following features in an attempt to differentiate your corporation name from that of another business:
- Suffixes, such as Corporation, Company, Incorporated, Incorporation, Limited, Corp., Co., Inc., etc.
- Definite articles, such as “A,” “An,” or “The”
- The conjunction "And," or “&"
- Numbers in place of numerals (or vice versa), e.g., "One World" is the same as "1 World"
- The singular, plural or possessive forms of words
- Abbreviations, punctuation, symbols, fonts, typefaces, etc.
All corporations must use one of the following in their names, usually at the end of the name: “Incorporated,” “Corporation,” “Limited” or their abbreviations.
Most states will not allow you to incorporate with names that:
- Are similar to the name of a federal or state agency or organization (e.g., FBI, FDA, Massachusetts Workforce Development, Massachusetts Rangers, Treasury, etc.)
- Suggest affiliation with a federal or state agency or organization
- Use the term “Olympic” or any terms that are trademarks of the International Olympic Committee
- Imply a purpose that would be illegal for your business to carry out
Specific Rules for Massachusetts Business Names
In addition to the general rules listed above, you'll need to follow some Massachusetts corporation laws that apply to naming your business.
For example, per the state's General Laws Part 1, Title 22, Chapter 156d, § 4.01, the name of a corporation "shall contain the word ''corporation, ''incorporated,'' ''company,'' or ''limited'' or the abbreviation ''corp.,'' ''inc., or ltd.,'' or words or abbreviations of like import in another language."
In addition, Part 1, Title 22, Chapter 156d, § 4.01 contains a further namin restrictions.
Coming Up with the Ideal Business Name
The perfect business name can be elusive. We have a complete guide to choosing the right business name, but essentially, you'll want to choose a name that will:
Need help coming up with business name ideas? Try our free name generator.
Massachusetts Corporation Name Search
Once you have an idea of the name you want, perform an MA corporation search to make sure another company isn't already using that name.
You can use the state's business entity search to check for name availability.
You can also use our simple and convenient Business Name Search Tool, which will search the state's business registry for you.
Trademarks and Service Marks
You must be careful that your Massachusetts corporation name doesn't infringe on the trademark or service mark of another business. The easiest way to ensure you're not infringing is to perform a trademark search through Bizee. You can even register the trademark yourself if it isn't already in use.
Register a DBA in Massachusetts
You may do business under a name other than your corporation's legal name. While many states refer to this as a trade name, fictitious name or assumed name, it's a "doing business as" (DBA) in Massachusetts. You may decide to use a DBA for a variety of reasons.
For example, your primary business may be called Corporate Hospitality, Inc., and you have a chain called Corporate Cleaners. You could register a DBA just for that brand. You'd do that by filing a form for a DBA Certificate with your local Massachusetts city or town clerk, or you can have Bizee do it on your behalf with our DBA service.
In order to keep your business names unique, you can also use the Massachusetts business entity search. You can perform a Massachusetts DBA search to find out whether any other companies are already using the DBA you want. We can also help you with this via our DBA name service.
Note: A trade name is not the same as a trademark. Learn more about trademark vs. DBA.
Register Your Business Name with the MA Secretary of the Commonwealth
You’ve performed a Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth business search, checked availability, followed the naming rules and determined whether you need a DBA. Now you can register your corporation name in one of two ways.