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How To Do A Maine Business Name Search

How To Do A Maine Business Name Search

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How To Do A Maine Business Name Search

If you are forming an LLC or a corporation in Maine, the first thing you need to do is a business name search. Like all other states, Maine requires each LLC or corporation registered in the state to have a unique business name. You can do a Maine business name search on the Maine Department of the Secretary of State website to see if the business name you want to use is available.  

Related: Guide to starting a business in Maine

Step 1: Visit the Maine Entity Name Database

Visit the Maine Secretary of State website.

Step 2: Search the Business Name

Enter the name you would like to use in the “Keyword from name to be searched” field.  In this example, we will do a Maine LLC name search by looking up “American Made.”

How to do a Maine Business Name Search

Step 3: Review Results

When we search for a business name, we get a list of all the businesses with the words we searched somewhere in the name. To register a corporation or LLC name in Maine, the name must be distinguishable from the other registered names. If you were looking to form an LLC with this name, you wouldn’t be able to since there is already one registered.

Maine Business Name Search Results

To find more information about each of the registered business names, click on the link in the “Information Summary” column to view a detailed report. 

Maine LLC Business Name Results

While the name “American Made” by itself may not be available, other variants are such as “American Made Furniture” or “American Made in Maine,” is.  Searching for those business names brings a result that says, “Found 0 entities for query”.  While final approval is still with the Secretary of State, it is likely available to register. 

Maine Business Name Availability

These are the basics of searching for a business name in Maine.  Even when the name of the business you want is available, the Secretary of State will make a final determination at the time of filing to ensure the name you picked isn’t too similar to other registered names. 

What information can be found on the Maine business entity database?

A Maine business search can find several pieces of information about the businesses in the state. Some of the highlights include:

  • Legal Name
  • Filing Type: Corporation, Limited Liability Company. Etc.
  • Status: Good standing means all reports and filing fees are up to date. Suspended means the business may not be in operation. In some cases, the name of a suspended business may be available to register.
  • Filing Date: The date the entity was filed with the Secretary of State
  • Registered Agent Information: Maine registered agent is the singular point of contact for the entity should a legal, or tax notice need to be sent to the business.  This is often one of the owners, and if their home address is used, that address becomes public information.  Many people find this concerning and use a Registered Agent service like Northwest Registered Agent, so their home address isn’t listed.  
  • Officer Names: Names of the officers and their title

Something to keep in mind is that even though each Corporation and LLC name must be unique, it may not stop someone else from using that name since business names for a sole proprietorship or partnership are not registered by the Secretary of State and are not required to be unique.  To protect your business name, consider getting a trademark.

Related: Should I trademark my business name?

Maine Business Name Search FAQs

How do I find the business name of a Maine sole proprietorship?

Unlike corporations and LLCs in Maine, the names of Maine sole proprietorships and general partnerships are not listed on the state database. Instead, they are registered with the Town or City Clerk’s office where the business is located. 

Registering a name for a sole proprietorship or general partnership requires filing a Maine Assumed Name (often referred to as a DBA or Doing Business As name) with the County Clerk. 

How do I form an LLC in Maine?

Before starting your business and forming an LLC, be sure to do the business entity search first to make sure the name is available to use.  Once you know the LLC name is available, learn how to form a Maine LLC by reading our step-by-step guide on filing the Articles of Organization.

Unlike most states, Maine requires an LLC operating agreement for all LLCs in the state, which is a document that sets the rules for the LLC’s operation.

After forming a Limited Liability Company, be sure to register for any Maine business licenses and possibly obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN) so the business is legal to operate.

What are the naming guidelines for a Maine LLC?

In addition to the name being unique, the name of the LLC must include a special designator such as Limited Liability Company, Liability Company, L.L.C., etc., in addition to not using restricted words such as bank or insurance, unless the entity is licensed to operate as such.

Can an LLC name be reserved in Maine?

If there is a name you want to use but aren’t ready to form the LLC, the Application for Reservation of Name (Form MLLC-1) can be filed with the Maine Secretary of State to hold the name for up to 120 days.

How To Do A Maine Business Name Search

How To Do A Maine Business Name Search

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