Is the corporate name you want available? Watch this short video to quickly learn which websites to visit to find out.

Naming a small business is exciting. But selecting the right name for a corporation can involve pitfalls. Start-up business owners who choose a name claimed by another company could run into serious issues. Find out how a few simple online searches – on specific websites – can help business owners determine if their desired corporate name is available. And, when in doubt, contact an experienced Orange County Small Business Attorney.

It can be exhilarating to open a new business. Business ownership represents the realization of a lifelong dream for many aspiring entrepreneurs. But along with the excitement, comes work.

It takes a lot of effort to get a business started off on the right foot. While much of this work seems mundane – like filing a business license – some of it is interesting, even fun. One of the more exciting things to do when opening a small business is selecting a corporate name.

Regulations Limit Name Choices for Business Owners

corporate-name-search-business-attorney-orange-countyThough naming your Orange County small business engages the creative process, it comes with some limitations as well.

For one, government agencies require adherence to regulations when choosing business names. For example, corporate names may not mislead consumers and may not resemble an existing name too closely.

That makes it crucial to learn whether or not a desired business name legally belongs to another organization before attempting to use the name.

These stipulations may lead entrepreneurs to wonder how to check a name and ensure its availability before claiming it for their company. Fortunately, business owners need only perform a few online searches to discover if their preferred name is already in use.

For help selecting a business name, contact an Orange County attorney who specializes in small businesses in California.

How to Check Corporate Name Availability

Orange County small business lawyer Andrew Gale recommends visiting the websites named below to garner business name information quickly and free of charge. It simply requires an Internet-connected device and a few minutes of time.

California Business Search FormThe California Secretary of State’s Website

The first place to check a desired corporate name is on the California Secretary of State’s website. The website offers a simple form to check for existing corporate names. Please note that this form does not provide an official name availability search. To perform a name availability search, click the “Name Availability” link on the “Business Search” page.

For a quick, easy, but unofficial search, access the “Business Search” link under the “Online Services” section of the “Business Programs” page (see the image above).

Select the “Corporation Name” radio button. Enter the desired business name and press the “Search” button. The results will indicate if the name entered is currently in use or not. If it is, other parties may not reserve that corporate name.


A quick Google search helps business owners determine if another company already owns their chosen name. Google offers the advantage of searching nationwide – or even globally – for a potential business name.

Entrepreneurs may discover that a desired name already belongs to another business. If a selected name is in use by another company, business owners should consider alternatives.

United States Patent and Trademark Office Website

USPTO-Trademark-Check-Corporate-NameThe third place to visit when selecting a corporate name is the United States Patent and Trademark Office website. It goes without saying that choosing a name trademarked by someone else could lead a lawsuit. Checking the USPTO website is, therefore, a must.

Like the websites mentioned above, the search feature is easy to use and free of charge. The site offers a few search options, however. Searchers may choose from plural and singular versions of a name. They may also select radio buttons to search for names under “live and dead,” “live,” or “dead” trademarked names.

To get started, select “Trademark Search” from the drop-down menu under the “Trademarks” link on the home page. Then click “Basic Word Mark Search” and enter the proposed corporate name. Press the “Submit Query” button. Then examine the search results (if any) to see if the name desired is available. If the name chosen appears in the list of search results, consider selecting an alternative.

County Websites

Orange County Fictitious Business Name SearchFinally, business owners can check for their selected name with the county wherein they plan to do business. For example, business owners in Orange County, California would visit the website for the County of Orange. Once on the website, a simple search of the fictitious business name database will reveal the availability of a given name.

Choosing a business name is one of the most important and exciting things an aspiring entrepreneur does when setting up a corporation. But business owners shouldn’t let excitement cloud their judgment when selecting a business name. Those wishing to start a business without the hassles of legal problems down the road should check to make sure their proposed name is available before moving forward. By checking name availability online, entrepreneurs can be more confident about their business name selection.

Get help from an experienced Orange County, California business attorney.

Need to choose the right name for your business? Or do you want help setting up a business entity in California? Contact California corporate lawyer Andrew Gale. With more than 30 years of experience, Andy is an expert who can help you with all of the important aspects of setting up and running a business. So don’t wait! Call Andy now at +1 (714) 634-4838.