When starting a business in South Carolina, naming is of utmost importance. Your desired name must be unique from other registered entities in South Carolina and must not contain designators such as Corporation, Inc. or Limited Liability Company LP in its title.
Business Entities Online
United States business entities are organizations formed for specific trade activities. These companies typically must file paperwork with state agencies like the secretary of state in order to operate legally. There are four primary forms of business structures – sole proprietorships, partnerships, limited liability companies and corporations. Each offers different benefits while simultaneously placing different responsibilities upon its owners.
As part of your business formation process, it is vitally important to choose an entity type which suits your organization best. Your choice of entity will influence taxation rates and liabilities management while also impacting profits and losses distribution. When making this important decision, always consult an attorney or other professional before making your final decision.
The Business Entities Online application offers an efficient means of searching the Secretary of State’s office records for businesses registered. Furthermore, this system offers 24 hour use.
To use this system, first create a user ID and password. With those in hand, you can then view all filings for any given company as well as purchase copies of corporate documents and certificates; you may even view images of filings if available.
Search business entities by name or the name of any individual listed as registered agent, officer or director for an existing corporation. In addition, you can search based on tax status and location. Furthermore, bulk orders of business information files and UCC data files may also be placed over the internet.
If you wish to obtain certified copies of filed documents, the Division of Corporations charges a fee of 75 cents per transaction. Each certified copy will contain a manually placed certification stamp bearing date, deputy initials and California Secretary of State seal. In addition, all for-profit entities must file annual reports by the end of their tax closing period.
Trademark searches are crucial when applying for trademark registration. One of the primary reasons an application may be denied is because its proposed mark is too similar to an already registered mark, but performing an effective search can help overcome this hurdle. National searches can be performed online using USPTO TESS database; depending on your business needs you can perform basic word mark or full text searches; full-text searching also includes words in slang and variations as well as variations. Furthermore, design mark searches allow businesses to discover marks with nonverbal graphics.
Search results are organized based on various criteria, such as mark holder, registration date/number, class, word mark/image mark combination and application/registration status. A trademark attorney will review these search results in order to determine whether any proposed mark creates the risk of confusion with existing marks, which they compare for similarities in appearance, sound, meaning and commercial impression among consumers; additionally they examine which goods/services the marks relate to and make sure there are none with similar meaning that cause confusion between marks.
Additionally, it is wise to conduct state trademark searches. Most states offer online databases for you to search business names registered within their borders – typically through their secretary of state’s office or county clerk websites/division of corporations. Furthermore, you can conduct corporate and fictitious name searches at local county clerk websites/division of corporations as well.
A common law trademark search goes beyond government records to include telephone listings, industrial records, state trademark directories and internet sources. It can help identify potential conflicts in the marketplace and understand how potential competitors might use their brand. Furthermore, this research can assist in assessing new trademarks to gauge their strength – the ultimate goal being securing your own company brand from competing brands.
Trade Name Registration
Trade names (or “fictitious business names”) are used by companies to communicate their identity to their customers and clients, rather than the legal entity’s registered name (such as LLC or corporation). In certain states, it may be necessary to register trade names with local government in order for it to become official.
Trade names should be modified or shortened in order to prevent confusion with other registered business names, and will appear on signs, advertisements, receipts and receipt books. Legal names should only ever appear in legal documents and government forms. Many states require businesses to register their trade names so that consumers know who they are dealing with and can ascertain liability in case of litigation or other legal issues.
As the benefits of trade name registration will differ depending on your legal business entity type and industry, registering your trade name could help distinguish you from similar-sounding competitors while making it easier for banks and suppliers to recognize your company as legitimate business.
Registering your trade name provides protection from other parties using it and potentially undermining your brand image. Registration only usually involves taking a few steps; typically filling out a form, paying a fee and sometimes publishing notice of filing in newspapers. Note, however, that DBA filing doesn’t grant exclusive rights over your name and needs to be renewed or amended periodically.
DBAs can be helpful when an existing corporation or LLC wants to enter a different line of business that does not match up with its current legal name. For example, Summer Sprinkler Systems Inc. currently specializes in sprinkler system installation and repair; therefore they could file a DBA for Plowing Specialists as a snowplow service marketer; once no longer relevant they should cancel it. It is wiser however to keep both names registered with local governments so your options remain open when filing any DBA or other documents for filing purposes.
Business Entity Search
An entity search is an efficient and fast way to quickly gather information on any company or organization. Many secretary of state offices provide dedicated business entity searches on their websites so you can search incorporated businesses, limited liability companies (LLCs) and partnerships. A thorough business entity search should always be performed before registering your own company or transacting business with another one; doing this will allow you to see if their annual filings and taxes are up-to-date and ensure any potential transactions go as smoothly as possible.
Each state’s business entity search can differ, yet most will feature similar layout and functionality. You should be able to search by company name or filing number; filters may allow for filtering of results based on domestic/foreign entities, active/inactive status and more. In some states more comprehensive data such as stock information may also be provided.
New York State Department of State’s online business entity search system provides an excellent example. Search by either name or entity number with options such as “starts with” and “contains.” Additionally, this system displays whether an active or inactive company exists; returned results do not guarantee availability; they simply provide an idea of what information is necessary when filing new companies.
In some states, conducting a business entity search is the first step to registering a company. When creating an LLC in New York for instance, you will first need to search their business entity database and ensure your desired name is available before registering it with them and meeting any naming guidelines set by them.
Secretary of state offices typically handle and maintain records on corporations, LLCs and partnerships; however they often won’t register sole proprietorships or “d/b/a” names themselves; rather a local city or county clerk may handle registration instead.