Complying with Texas Law in the Selection of Your Business Name
If you’re creating a new business entity in Texas and, after considering the different legal structures, you’ve decided to set up the enterprise as a limited liability company (LLC), you want to take great care in choosing the name for your business, so that you don’t run afoul of Texas law or expose yourself to the potential for legal challenges.
Basic Requirements and Limitations
If you will be operating as a limited liability company, that phrase (or one of its recognized abbreviations) must appear somewhere in the name, typically at the end. Examples include:
- ABC Enterprises, LLC
- ABC Enterprises, L.L.C.
- ABC Enterprises, a Limited Liability Company
The use of some words in your business name is prohibited, such as terms that would cause the public to associate you with a governmental agency (IRS, Navy, FBI, etc.). In addition, some words may be allowed, but only with the filing of additional paperwork. For example, the use of the word “lawyer,” “doctor,” or “lender” may require additional documentation.
Determining Name Availability
If the name you choose is likely to lead to confusion with an existing business entity, you may face allegations of unfair competition for using such a name. You can avoid this by checking the availability of a business name in Texas. Once you’ve done a name search and have a name that you believe will work, you can reserve that name for up to 120 days. You should file the necessary paperwork to legally establish your LLC within that time frame, but can renew your name reservation for 30 days, if necessary.
At the same time, you may want to look at available URLs, to make certain that another business is not using a domain name confusingly similar to your chosen name. You can do this with just about any domain name registry.
You may also want to conduct a trademark search. A trademark may be any phrased used by a company or individual to establish good will. It need not be the name of a business, but you can still engage in trademark infringement if your business name too closely conflicts with a trademarked phrase, logo or other protected expression.
At MCIS Law, PLLC, in Stafford, we aggressively advocate for businesses and individuals in southeast Texas. For a confidential consultation with an experienced and knowledgeable lawyer, email us or call our office at (346) 297-0121. We accept all major credit cards.