Maryland Business Entity Search | MD Naming Guidelines & Process

The first step toward starting an LLC or Corporation is naming the business. So, if you are looking forward to opening a new business in Maryland, then conducting the Maryland Business Search is the first step towards it. A business name plays an important role when starting a new business. And in Maryland, you have to visit the Maryland Secretary of State’s Website to register your business entity. Let’s know in detail how you can do the Maryland Business Entity Search.

Why Do Maryland Business Entity Search?

The primary need to do a Maryland Business Entity Search is to check whether you can use your preferred name to form a business or not. The entity search can be done by visiting the Maryland SOS. There are certain naming guidelines for both LLC and Corporation. It is important to conduct the business search as an existing name similar to your chosen business name, will get your business registration cancelled.

maryland secretary of state

Maryland LLC Naming Guidelines

Before we move ahead with choosing the LLC name, we must know the naming guidelines for the Maryland LLC search.

  • The business name must be easily distinguishable from another existing LLC.
  • Your chosen name must not contain any restricted terms like “finance” or “bank”.
  • The business name must contain the term LLC in any of its forms like LLC, L.L.C., or Limited Liability Company.
  • Use of any indecent and offensive words in your business name is highly prohibited.

Maryland Corporation Naming Guidelines

The business naming guidelines of a corporation are quite similar to that of an LLC. However, your Maryland Corporation search must comply with the following guidelines.

  • Your desired name must not be similar or the same as any existing or reserved business name of Maryland SOS.
  • Your corporation name must include words like “corporation”, “company” or “corp” at the end.
  • Avoid using words that are restricted like, “education”, “finance” etc.
  • Should not include words that are obscene or indecent.

Maryland Business Entity Search Method

To perform the business entity search, you need to visit the Maryland SOS website. Conducting the business entity search can let you know whether your desired business name is registered or already reserved. It also helps to find out more about other businesses with similar names that are registered in Maryland. The Maryland SOS allows you to perform your search in multiple ways.

Maryland Business Entity Search Tool

1. Search by Business Name: You can enter your desired name and check the results. If the same name is registered it will appear in the result section. Similar names may also appear close to your chosen name. In that case, you can definitely use it to register your business in Maryland.

2. Search By Department ID: If you want to find out more about an existing business then you can simply do that by entering the Business ID number. 

Maryland Business Entity Search Process

Before forming a business, either the Maryland LLC or corporation search you have to visit the Maryland SOS website. We have provided you with the exact 5 steps that would help you register your business name without any hassle.

1. Decide Your Desired Name:  Often we move ahead by choosing one name and that name may not be available for registration. So to save time, it is advisable to list out a few more names that suit your business niche.

2. Perform a Business Search: Once the name is decided, you can do the LLC/corporation name search. You can visit the Maryland SOS website and use the business name search tool.

3. Analyse the search page result: Once the desired name list search results are generated, you can analyse and check the names that are already registered. It is better to select a unique brand name that matches your brand niche.

4. Reserve your LLC/Corporation name (Optional): If you are not sure to start your LLC /corporation immediately, then you can reserve your name on the Maryland SOS Website for 30 days by paying a filing fee of $25.

5. Register your business with Maryland SOS: If you are sure about your chosen name, and that is also available for registration, then it is best that move ahead with registering your business with the Maryland Secretary of State website.

Other Considerations Before Choosing a Name

Business names are used for years to come. Consumers remember your brand name too. Thus apart from the naming guidelines, some important considerations need to be remembered as well.

Maryland Trademark Search

  1. Trademark Search – Apart from registering your business, you must also do a trademark search. This helps you to know whether your chosen name can be used if you plan to use your name in the future to expand your business.
  2. Domain Name Search: You must have the same domain and business name. This helps your consumers to remember and find you on the digital platform easily.
  3. Social Media Name Search: Social Media plays an important role in advertising your business. Thus you must conduct a Social Media Name Search as well. If you find a brand with the same name then you can modify your existing name. Also, try opening accounts with your brand name on different social media platforms as well.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. For how many days a name can we reserve a business name in Maryland?

In Maryland, the LLC or corporation name can be reserved for 30 days.

2. How to carry out Maryland business name search?

You have to visit the Maryland SOS website to carry out a business name search

3. What term should Maryland LLC name end with?

Maryland LLC's name should end with either of the abbreviations like LLC, L.L.C or the phrase Limited Liability Company.

4. Why is it necessary to conduct a business entity search?

Business entity search lets you know whether your desired name is available or not. If the name is not available then you have to think of some other name and do the search again.


Naming your Maryland Business may not seem a tough job, but there are certain naming guidelines set by the Maryland SOS that must be maintained. Choosing a name following the guidelines keeps you safe from violating any laws in the future.

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