If you’re forming an LLC, corporation, or professional business entity in New York there are business naming requirements that must be met before your company can be formed.
First, all business entity names must be unique and distinguishable from other business names on file with the New York Department of State, which is the Agency that maintains all corporate filings in the State of New York. You can check to see if your proposed name is available by doing a name availability search on the NY Department of State website.
Second, all business entity names must include the appropriate corporate designation. For example, all corporation names must include one of the following words or abbreviations: Corporation, Incorporated, Limited, Corp, Inc, or Ltd. Similarly, limited liability company names must include: Limited Liability Company or LLC or in the name of the company.
If you’re forming a professional entity such as a Professional Corporation (PC) or a Professional Limited Liability Company (PLLC) additional naming restrictions will apply depending on your profession and the agency that oversees your professional licensure. For example, doctors seeking to form a medical practice in NY must obtain approval of the company name from the NY Office of the Professions and they will not permit the use of: Cure, Healing, International, Management Co., National, Network, Partners, Spa, Center, Clinic, or Hospital. Words that suggest superiority are also prohibited from use such as: Advanced, Best, Exceptional, Super, Premier, Outstanding, etc.
Lastly, the name of every business entity may not include a restricted word or phrase, unless one has complied with the restriction. The restrictions are based on consumer protection laws and prohibit the use of words that are likely to deceive consumers. Certain words and phrases may also require the consent or approval from another state agency prior to forming the company with the NY Department of State.
Some examples of restricted words for business names in New York are: academy, annuity, assurance, attorney, bank, benefit, blind, board of trade, casualty, college, conservatory, corporation, cooperative, council, doctor, education, elementary, endowment, exchange, fidelity, finance, guaranty, handicapped, historical, indemnity, insurance, investment, lawyer, mortgage, partnership, school, surety, union, and university.
The above list is not exhaustive, but you get the idea of why these types of terms need to be regulated. A complete list of restricted words is available on the Department of State website. You can also read N.Y. LLC Law § 204 or N.Y. BSC Law § 301 for more information on this topic or CONTACT US if you have questions regarding how to name your business.