- Q1. Can I reserve a name until I am ready to file my documents?
- A1. Yes, you can reserve a name with the Secretary of State before filing business entity documents. Name reservations are good for 120 days. A reserved name is merely held; reserving a name does not "start a business". A name reservation can be renewed by filing a Statement of Renewal of Reservation of Name.
- Q2. How do I transfer the name of my business to another business?
- A2. A business cannot transfer its name or trade name to another business. However, an entity can file an amendment to change its entity name or dissolve the entity, which will make the entity name immediately available for filing.
- Q3. What does "The name is not available" mean?
- A3. If a name is not available, it means that the name in question is currently on record with the Secretary of State. In order to be available, an entity name must be distinguishable from other entity names that are on record. Each character, except periods (.), commas (,), underscores ( _ ), apostrophes (‘) and inverted apostrophes (`), may create a name that is distinguishable. Terms and abbreviations required to be included in an entity name (such as “LLC”, “Corp”, and “Inc”) will make names distinguishable. Uppercase and lowercase letters are not distinguishable from each other.
- For example, the following pairs of names are not the same:
ABC Inc is not the same as ABC Incorporated
ABC Inc is not the same as ABCInc
ABC Inc is not the same as A B C Inc
ABC Inc is not the same as A-B-C Inc
ABC Inc is not the same as (ABC) Inc
ABC Inc is not the same as ABC LLC
For example, the following pairs of names are the same:
ABC Inc is the same as abc inc
ABC Inc is the same as A.B.C. Inc
ABC Inc is the same as ABC, Inc.
- See section 7-90-601, C.R.S., for more information about name distinguishability.
- A name availability search will tell you whether a specific name is available, but will not show any similar names that are distinguishable. If you want to see if there are similar names to the one you want, search by “Business name, trademark or trade name” instead of “Name availability”. When using this search option, remember that searching for a few key words and leaving out any required terms and abbreviations (such as “LLC”, “Corp”, and “Inc”), articles of speech, and small words will usually yield better results.
- You may want to contact legal counsel before deciding to use a name that is very similar to another name.
- Q4. How can I find out if a name is available for use?
- A4. The Secretary of State’s website can be searched to find out if a name is already on record and therefore not available. From the Business Home page select “Search” and enter a name in the “Name availability” field. The search system will indicate if the exact name that was entered is available.
- Searching the business database by “Business name, trademark, or trade name” will give you a list of similar names in the records of the Secretary of State.
- Searching the business database will be very helpful for persons wondering whether a business name is available for use. To be available, the name must be “distinguishable” from other names in the records of the Secretary of State.
- The Secretary of State’s name availability standards have changed considerably since July 1, 2004. For example, the articles of speech such as ‘the’ and ‘a’ used at the beginning of a name will make a name distinguishable. Also, terms and abbreviations such as “Inc,” “Corp,” and “LLC” will make a name distinguishable.
- If an entity on record with the Secretary of State is using the searched name, the Name Availability Search Result page will display the message, “The name is not available” and give you the option to view the holder of this name. Selecting the link to view the holder of the name will take you to the entity’s Summary page.
- Trade names and trademarks are not included in the Name Availability search. Trade names are not distinguishable from any other trade name or any other name on file in the records of the Secretary of State. Any trade name may be registered, even if it is similar to or exactly the same as another name that is in the records.
- Q5. I forgot to put “LLC”, “Inc”, “Corp”, or another required term or abbreviation in my business name. What can I do?
- A5. If you did not include a required term or abbreviation indicating your type of entity when you registered your entity, you may add a term or abbreviation by filing a Statement of Correction or by filing Articles of Amendment.
- Completing and submitting the Statement of Correction Correcting Information Other Than Principal Office Address or Registered Agent Information will allow you to correct the name by adding the appropriate term or abbreviation. Filing a Statement of Correction indicates that the name should have included the term or abbreviation at the time of registration.
- Completing the Articles of Amendment will allow you to change the name. Articles of Amendment may be filed online.
- To file a Statement of Correction or Articles of Amendment, go to the Business Home page, click “File a business document”, and then click on "File a form for an existing record." Search for the entity, confirm you found the correct entity, and then select the document to be filed.
- Most business entities are required by law to include a term or abbreviation indicating the type of entity, such as “LLC”, “Inc”, or “Corp” in their names. Specifically, a corporation’s name is required to include the term or abbreviation “corporation”, “incorporated”, “company”, “limited”, “corp”, “inc.”, “co.” or “ltd.” A limited liability company’s name is required to include the term or abbreviation “limited liability company”, “ltd. liability company”, “limited liability co.”, “ltd. liability co.”, “limited”, “l.l.c.”, “llc”, or “ltd". The terms or abbreviations can be capitalized in any fashion. For more information about the designator requirements for other entities, see section 7-90-601, C.R.S.
- Q6. How do I change my business name?
- A6. There are different ways to change a business name. Some options include filing an amendment or filing a Statement of Change, depending on your type of business entity. We recommend viewing the entity’s or trade name’s Documents Available for Filing page to view the possible filing options.