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Oregon LLC Name Search using the Oregon Business Registry
Quick Start Guide
This Quick Start Guide is a brief overview of how to form an LLC in Oregon.
Oregon LLC Costs:
Oregon LLC filing fee: $100
Oregon LLC annual report fee: $100
(check out Northwest vs LegalZoom)
The first step to forming an LLC in Oregon is to search your desired LLC name in the Oregon Business Registry and make sure it’s available for use.
You can browse existing business names in the Oregon Business Registry using the link below, but we recommend reading this entire lesson first as there are important requirements and restrictions you need to be aware of when naming your Oregon LLC.
Oregon Secretary of State Business Registry Search:
1. Under “Search Methods”, first run your search with “Exact words in any word order” selected (the default), and then run your search again with “Extended search” selected. This will help ensure you see all Oregon business names that are potentially similar to your desired Oregon LLC name.
2. Oregon is fairly strict when it comes to LLC name availability. If your LLC name is rejected, the state will hold onto your money and give you 45 days to re-file with a different name. To avoid this happening to you – (after you do a few online searches) – we strongly recommend calling the Oregon Corporation Division at 503-986-2200 during normal business hours and asking for a preliminary LLC name check.
Searching LLC Names in the Oregon Business Registry
1. It’s best to search only part of your LLC name to ensure you see everything that is potentially similar. For example, if your desired Oregon LLC name is “Fresh Cut Designs LLC”, it’s best to just search “Fresh Cut”.
Why: This way, if there is a “Fresh Cut Designer” or “Fresh Cut Designing”, you’ll see both of them; which is important, since they will be confusingly similar to your name and the state will likely reject your Oregon LLC filing.
2. Leave out the designator “LLC”, “L.L.C.”, etc., during your search.
3. Leave out any punctuation like commas, periods, apostrophes, quotes, hyphens, etc.
4. The Oregon business registry ignores capitalization so you can search using uppercase, lowercase, or any combination.
5. Under “Search Methods”, search your LLC names with both “Exact words in any word order” selected as well as “Extended search“.
Northwest ($39 + state fee) or LegalZoom ($149 + state fee)
(check out Northwest vs LegalZoom)
Determining the Oregon Business Registry search results:
• If the results show names that are not too similar to yours, then your desired Oregon LLC name is available for use.
• If a “Your search returned no business entity names” message appears, this means your desired Oregon LLC name is unique and available for use.
• If your desired LLC name already appears in the list exactly as you want it, your desired Oregon LLC name is not available for use. You’ll need to come up with a new name or unique variation that makes your LLC name distinguishable.
• If the results show a name that is deceptively similar to yours, your desired Oregon LLC name will likely be rejected. We recommend coming up with a new name or unique variation that makes your LLC distinguishable.
Oregon LLC Name Requirements & Restrictions
Before finalizing your LLC name, it’s important to understand the requirements and restrictions in Oregon.
Here is a brief overview (scroll down for details on each bullet point):
• You must use a proper designator at the end of your LLC name
• You can use a comma in your LLC name before the designator, or you can leave it out
• You cannot make it sound like your LLC is a Corporation or any other type of legal entity besides an LLC
• Your LLC name cannot be confusingly similar to an existing company in the state
• The use of certain words in your LLC name either requires special approval or is prohibited
As per Oregon law (section 63.094), your Oregon LLC must contain one of the following designators at the end of its name:
• Limited Liability Company
Example: If your desired name is “Mark’s Printing Services”, it must be officially filed as:
– Mark’s Printing Services LLC
– Mark’s Printing Services L.L.C.
– Mark’s Printing Services Limited Liability Company
Tip: Most filers use “LLC” as their designator.
Comma in LLC Name
You can file your LLC name with or without a comma before the designator.
Example: You can file as either:
– Mark’s Printing Services LLC
– Mark’s Printing Services, LLC
Both are acceptable in Oregon and it’s your personal preference.
Your Oregon LLC cannot imply that it is a Corporation, Limited Partnership, or any other type of business entity besides an LLC.
You cannot use the following Designators anywhere in your LLC name:
• Limited Partnership
• Limited Liability Partnership
Your desired LLC name must be “distinguishable upon the records” of the Oregon Secretary of State. “Distinguishable upon the records” is a fancy way of saying that your LLC name must be truly unique and not confusingly similar to an existing business registered in Oregon.
The following examples show business names that are not distinguishable. Meaning, the Oregon Secretary of State’s office will not allow both of these names to be in existence at the same time.
– Michael’s Diner, LLC and Michael’s Diner, Inc.
2. Words that don’t really change the meaning of the name:
– 123 Bowlers Alley, LLC and 123 Bowlerz Alley, LLC
– Fresh Fruit, LLC and Fresh Fruits, LLC
4. Punctuation marks:
– 412 Grille, LLC and 4.1.2. Grille, LLC
– Lee’s Footwear, LLC and lee’s footwear, llc
Restricted and Prohibited Words
Restricted words require approval from certain institutions, like departments of banking, insurance, education, and professional organizations. Prohibited words are those that are simply not allowed.
Restricted words: Bank, Banking, Banker, Credit Union, Trust, Insurance, Mortgage, College, University, Redevelopment, and Olympic.
Unless members are forming a Professional LLC (PLLC) and are licensed by the state, you cannot use the words Attorney, Lawyer, Engineer, Engineering, Doctors, Dentists, Architect, Land Surveyor, Appraiser, etc.
Prohibited words: Federal, Government, FBI, United States of America, United States, City, Borough, Township, and County. You cannot use curse words or vulgar words. You cannot use words that imply illegal activity, or words that suggest the company is a part of local, state, or federal government, or falsely leads the public to believe the company is associated with certain public institutions.
Reminders & Tips
Do not apply for your Federal Tax ID Number (EIN) until your Oregon LLC is approved.
Also, do not order business cards, letterheads, signs, marketing materials, etc., until the Oregon Secretary of State approves your LLC.
Once you find an Oregon LLC name that is unique and distinguishable, you’re ready to select your LLC’s Registered Agent. We’ll discuss this in the next Lesson: Oregon LLC Registered Agent.
Oregon Secretary of State Contact Info
If you have any questions, you can contact the Oregon Secretary of State at 503-986-2200 (Monday through Friday, 8:00am – 5:00pm).