Georgia Secretary of State
2 MLK, Jr. Dr., Ste. 313, Floyd West Tower, Atlanta, GA 30334-1530
How to Do a Georgia Business Search:
Once you have identified your preferred business name options, you can investigate if these are taken by using the Georgia business search tool and by checking the state and federal trademark databases. A name reservation request or entity formation documents must be filed to obtain official confirmation of name availability.
Conduct a Georgia business search online.
Navigate to the Georgia online business search tool.
The Georgia Corporations Division offers an online business search tool that can be used to perform business, service of process, and trademark searches. The business search tool allows users to look up business entities' information of record with the Secretary of State (SOS).
Note that the online business search serves as a preliminary search of the SOS's database and is not an official name availability lookup. An official name availability search is only performed once you submit a name reservation request or file entity formation documents.
If two competing business names are too similar, one business may be accused of infringing on the other's trademark rights and be forced to adopt a different name. To avoid this, you'll need to search for similar names and alternate spellings when researching name availability.
Opt to search by business name.
The business search tool allows you to select the type of search value. The options are listed to the left of the search fields — check that "Business Name" is selected.
Select a search type.
You can choose to search for a name that starts with the same term or letters, or that is an exact match. For the purpose of researching name availability, use the "Contains" and "Exact Match" search options.
The search type "Contains" allows for a more inclusive search of business names than the “Starts With” search type, making it a better option for looking up similar business names. However, if this yields an overwhelmingly large number of business names, you can use "Exact Match" to narrow down the results.
Enter and search for a business name.
Enter the name you want to search and click on the "Search" button. If there aren't any matches, a pop-up window reading "No data found" will appear, in which case you'll want to repeat the search using a different search type before adapting the search term.
If the search yields results, review these to see if there are any matches or similar business names. Repeat the search with variations of the name, such as alternate spellings or different prefixes and suffixes.
Additional Georgia business search steps.
Perform trademark searches.
Trademark searches are advisable as the business search outlined above is limited to business names registered with the state and does not include state or federal trademarks. Using a name in commerce that has been trademarked by another party can have serious legal ramifications.
Be sure to check for trademarks registered with the Georgia SOS as well as federal trademarks registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).
Perform a Georgia trademark search by mark name and search type, such as the "Contains" and "Exact Match" search options, similar to the business search process outlined above.
File a name reservation.
In Georgia, businesses are not required to file a name reservation before filing entity formation documents. However, it may save time and money to do so and could also reduce the processing time of your application to form a legal business entity. The non-refundable filing fee for a name reservation is $25.00. Paper filings attract an additional $10.00 service charge.
To reserve a name, start by downloading the Name Reservation Request form.
Complete the form with your details. You can list three name options in order of preference.
Submit the completed form online or by mail, along with the applicable filing fee.
If the requested name is available and approved, you will receive a name reservation number. If none of the requested names are available, you will receive a rejection notice. You may submit another choice within ten days of such notice at no additional charge.
Name reservations expire after 30 days or when entity formation documents are filed. Name reservations cannot be renewed — you will have to submit another name reservation request, along with the filing fee to reserve the name again.
How to Start a Business in Georgia
How do I look up a business name in Georgia?
- Go to the business search tool on the Corporate Divisions page of the Georgia Secretary of State website.
- Choose to search by business name.
- Select a search type.
- Enter the business name and click "Search."
- Review the results for exact matches and similar names. If the search yields no results, adjust the search parameters and/or criteria.
How do I look up a DBA in Georgia?
Georgia does not require trade names to be registered at the state level and there is no central, searchable trade name database. Trade names are registered with the office of the Clerk of Superior Court in the county or counties in which the business operates. Contact the relevant Clerk of Superior Court's office to look up a DBA or trade name in a specific county.
How much does it cost to do a business search in Georgia?
Interested parties can use the business search tool on the Georgia Secretary of State website for free. However, this tool is for research purposes only and does not facilitate an official name availability search. You will have to submit a name reservation request or file entity formation documents with the Secretary of State to obtain official confirmation of name availability.
How do I reserve a business name in Georgia?
- Download the Name Reservation Request form from the Georgia Secretary of State website.
- Complete the form with your personal information and business name choice(s).
- Submit the form to the Secretary of State along with the filing fee. Online submissions cost $25.00, while paper filings cost $35.00.
How do you register a business name in Georgia?
You cannot register a business name in Georgia without registering your business as a whole. However, you can reserve your business name with the SOS.
How do I do a Georgia business entity search?
You can use the business search tool on the Corporate Divisions page of the Georgia Secretary of State website to quickly and easily perform a business entity search.