Naming a business is one of the most important tasks on your to-do list when you start your business. It plays an important role in determining how your customers and suppliers understand your business at first sight.
It must be distinctive and memorable to customers, and it is the legal name that appears on your company’s official paperwork and business licenses. From setting up a bank account to closing deals to appearing in court proceedings, this is the “trade name” you will use.
Since you decided to register an LLC in Wyoming, a basic understanding of the state’s naming regulations is critical. Not understanding the rules can lead to wasted effort, especially if you’re trying to invent a name that will be rejected or that violates an existing trademark. And no one enjoys being rejected or being sued.
Here is the ultimate guide for you to name your Wyoming LLC, whether it is a Single-Member LLC or Multi-Member LLC.
When choosing a US LLC name, some states have state-specific naming requirements, but in general, the following holds true to most of the states:
The government agency that oversees all LLC registrations in Wyoming is called the Office of the Secretary of State. Your Wyoming LLC name needs to comply with their guidelines before you file any documents with them. Here are the steps to follow:
The term “Limited Liability Company”, “Limited Company”, “Liability Company” or their abbreviations should be included in your LLC name:
Tip: LLC is the most common suffix
You could NOT use suffixes that are reserved for Corporations, Partnerships or Trusts such as
You must obtain permission from the Wyoming State Division of Banking to use the following words (or terms with similar meanings): Banker, Bank, Bancorp, Banc, Bancorporation, Banquers, Banque, Banco, Trust, Banca.
Likewise, you must obtain approval from the Department of Education to use the following words: Educate, Academy, Institute, Institution, Education, Educational, College, School, College.
The Wyoming Secretary of State requires additional verification of names beginning with the alphabet “A” followed by a space or punctuation (e.g., “A Blissful Encounter LLC”). Names that contain special characters such as marks or symbols also require additional verification by the State. These names that require additional verification must be submitted on paper forms that are mailed to the Wyoming State of Secretary. If you are in a hurry, avoid these names
As stated in Wyoming Statute 17-29-108, your name must be different from any other name already in use by another entity in the state of Wyoming. This includes names already used by business entities or other entities in state records. For example, if a “Fitz Catering Inc.” is registered, you cannot register “Fitz Catering LLC.”
Your name also cannot be identical or deceptively similar to a trademark or service mark registered in Wyoming.
Under this naming guideline published by the Wyoming Secretary of State, the following words and characters are not considered “distinguishable”
As we can see, suffixes as well as their abbreviations do not count, which we also mentioned earlier. Punctuation marks, special characters and the words “The”, “A”, “And” or “&” do not count either. A concrete example would be, “PizzaDeliveryGuy LLC” is in the Wyoming State of Secretary’s database, so a name like “Pizza Delivery Guy LLC” cannot be registered, because Wyoming will ignore those spaces in between when comparing your name against their database.
Unlike Delaware rules for naming an LLC, plurals and singulars are considered equivalent in Wyoming, so you cannot register the Wyoming LLC name found in the database by simply changing a word from singular to plural or vice versa. An example is that “SeasonsPetSupply LLC” is already found in the database, thus “Seasons Pet Supplies LLC” cannot be registered as the name for your US LLC.
On a similar vein, “PPE Advisors LLC” is already registered, thus you can’t register “PPE Advisor LLC”
Few tips when you do the search:
Unlike many other business filings in Wyoming, a name reservation application must be in writing. The Secretary of State provides a simple, one-page form called Application for Reservation of Corporate Name or Limited Liability Company Application for Reservation of Name.
Once you filled in the information requested, mail it along with a $50 check as filing fee to the mailing address provided below:
Wyoming Secretary of State
2020 Carey Avenue, Suite 700
What if another firm has started in another state under a similar name? Even if it is possible to register it in Wyoming, it may not be a good idea to use it.
Using names that resemble well-known companies is strongly discouraged. Big companies like Apple, Tesla, and Ford are very protective about their names and trademarks. You could run the risks of drawing their ire if you are registering a very similar name even when it is not registered in Wyoming.
If you want to use a specific business name, do an online search to see if what is available on the internet. Look around to see if anyone else has used that name or a similar one and see if you can find it.
This has to do with the fact that a trademark is registered at the federal level, even if the name in question is not registered as a business name in Wyoming. Therefore, it is advisable to do a quick search of the US federal trademark database if you want to be extra careful.
Your US LLC name is your formally registered legal name with Wyoming state, and you know by now that you must register the name with the Wyoming Secretary of State, and no other business in Wyoming can use your name. As long as your name is different from other business names in Wyoming, your name will be recognized.
On the other hand, a trademark is not a name per se, but a property. A trademark is a word, slogan, symbol, design, or combination thereof that identifies and distinguishes your company’s brands, goods or services from those of another company. The main purpose of a trademark is to avoid consumer confusion by ensuring that two similar businesses do not use the same name or symbol.
You protect your business name or brand by filing a trademark application with the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). If your trademark registration is approved, you can legally protect your business name or brand name in the categories you choose throughout the United States. You could also just apply for trademark registration at the state level, but most people usually apply for them at the federal level
For this reason, we advise against registering your US LLC name that resembles the brand names of well-known companies, as it is almost certain that they already have the trademark rights. You can use TESS, the USPTO’s Trademark Electronic Search System, to find existing trademarks that are similar to your desired LLC name if you want to be extra careful.
Well, yes, and no. Registering a trademark is important for a serious business, but if you are just starting out, we would advise you to simply register your LLC and begin doing business immediately. Trademark approval can take up to a year, and you must first use your brand name in public before you can file a trademark application with the USPTO. Furthermore, registering a trademark is not within the purview of the Secretary of State, and your Registered Agent probably cannot help you with this application, anyway.
[Did you know? StartFleet can also help you with your US Trademark Application, aside from the LLC registration in the US]
If, after registering your US LLC, you one day feel that your LLC name is no longer appropriate, or if circumstances change and you feel that your existing LLC name is too restrictive, you can usually create a DBA (Doing Business As) name and legally operate under a new name. This could also allow you to use the new DBA name for a new brand or business without having to go through the process of changing your US LLC name again.
A DBA is not a separate entity; it merely allows you to conduct business using an alternative name. It does not give you any additional benefits over operating under your own name.
Regardless of the reason, applying for a DBA or fictitious name is typically a simple process that requires only a search of existing organizations to ensure that the desired DBA or fictitious name is not already in use, filing an application with the appropriate government agency, and paying a small filing fee.
In Wyoming, a DBA is referred to as a trade name, and registration of a trade name is not mandatory. However, you may register a DBA by filing a Trade Name Application with the Wyoming Secretary of State.
To learn more about DBA and Trade Names, we wrote a detailed guide on how to use DBAs and why do you need it
We are glad you have made it this far, but this is just the beginning of your journey to building your online empire with a US LLC. If you have any questions and want to register a US company, please follow the rest of the articles in this guide or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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