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Naming Your Business
Whether you’re searching for the perfect business name or registering your LLC with the Washington, D.C., Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, Bizee can help. We have all the information you need to know on how to conduct a District of Columbia business search, plus LLC naming rules, DBA names and registering your business.
General Rules for LLC Names
These rules typically apply to all LLCs, regardless of which state they're formed in.
Your LLC Name Must Be Unique
Your preferred business name cannot be used by any other LLC or formed entity in the District of Columbia. This is why it's highly important to perform a Washington, D.C., business entity search before you begin the filing process.
Your LLC Name Must Not Be Confusable With Another Business Name
Your LLC name should be unique, but that’s not enough. It also cannot be similar to the name of a corporation or LLC within the District of Columbia. For example, you cannot use the following factors to say your name is different and distinguishable from the name of another business:
- Suffixes, such as Corporation, Company, Incorporated, Incorporation, Limited, Corp., Co., Inc., Ltd., LLC, etc.
- Definite articles, such as “A,” “An,” or “The”
- The conjunction "And," or “&"
- The singular, plural or possessive forms of words
- Abbreviations, punctuation, symbols, fonts, typefaces, etc.
Your LLC Name Must Contain Certain Words
All LLCs must have the words “Limited Liability Company,” “L.L.C.” or “LLC” in their names, normally at the end of the name.
Your LLC Name May Have Other General Restrictions
Most states will not allow you to form LLCs with names that:
- Are very similar to the name of a federal or state agency or organization (e.g., FBI, FDA, Washington, D.C., Comptroller, District of Columbia Police, 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 Washington, D.C., Business Names
As mentioned above, Washington, D.C., requires LLCs to comply with the general naming rules. In addition to these rules, the Code of the District of Columbia also states that no entity may use the word "bank" or any variation of it, unless with prior approval of the Mayor.
How to Come Up With a Business Name
Finding 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:
- Best represent your product or services
- Be memorable enough to stand out
- Appeal to your customers
- Not be used by any other business
Need help coming up with business name ideas? Try our free Business Name Generator.
District of Columbia Business Search
Once you have an idea of your preferred business name, you’ll need to perform a District of Columbia business entity search to make sure the name hasn’t been taken by another formed business.
Bizee offers a fast, simple and convenient tool to look up your proposed business name. The District of Columbia Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs also has a tool that lets you search the District of Columbia business registry to see whether another formed business already has your desired business name.
Find Out Whether Your Preferred Business Name is Available Washington DC With Bizee’s Free ToolCheck Your LLC Name
Trademarks and Service Marks
You must be careful that your Washington, D.C., LLC name doesn’t infringe on the trademark or service mark of another business. The easiest way to make sure your proposed business name doesn’t do that is to complete a trademark search through Bizee. If no one else is using it, you can even register it as a trademark yourself.
Make Sure Your Business is Starting Off on the Right Foot When It Comes to Intellectual Property.
Let Bizee run a trademark search for you.Bizee’s Trademark and Registration Service
Washington, D.C., DBA or Trade Name
You may do business under a different name from your legal LLC name. In some states, this is called a DBA (doing business as) name, fictitious name or assumed name. In the District of Columbia, it's called a trade name. You may decide to use a Washington, D.C., trade name for a variety of reasons.
For example, your business might be called Currant Marketing Solutions, LLC, and under that company, you have an event planning business called Currant Events. You could file for a trade business name just for that company. You'll need to register your trade name with Washington, D.C., Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, or you can have Bizee do it on your behalf through our DBA service.
Note: A trade name is not the same as a trademark. Learn more about trademark vs. DBA.
Register Your Business Name with the Washington, D.C., Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs
Once you’ve completed a Washington, D.C., business entity search, checked availability, followed the naming rules and decided whether you need a trade name, you can register your LLC name. There are a couple of ways to do this.
- If you don’t want to form your LLC right now, you can reserve the business name. You can reserve your name with the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs. Your name will be reserved for 120 days once the application is processed. If you’re forming your Washington, D.C., LLC right away, you won’t need to reserve a name.
- If you’re ready to start your LLC now, you can file your Articles of Organization with the Washington, D.C., Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs or have Bizee do it for you.
Bizee Can Handle All Your Formation Paperwork With the District of Columbia for You — and We’ll Do It for Free!
Incorporate in Washington DC for $0 + State Fee ($220)Start Your LLC Now
FAQs About Washington, D.C., Business Names
How Do I Search for My Washington, D.C., Business Name?
Are There Any Rules for Naming My Business in Washington, D.C.?
Yes. Most LLCs are bound by general rules (applicable to all LLCs) and specific rules (applicable in the District of Columbia). You'll find more information above.
Can I Do Business Under a Different Name Than My LLC Name in Washington, D.C.?
Yes. In Washington, D.C., you can conduct business under a trade name. Details are above.
Can I Reserve a Name for My Washington, D.C., LLC?
Yes. The Washington, D.C., Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs allows you to reserve a name for 120 days if you don’t want to start your business immediately. Details are above. If you’re ready to start your business now, you don’t need to reserve a name.