How to Do a Kentucky Business Search:
Before starting a business, you will need to ensure that your chosen business name is available. Simply go to the Kentucky SOS website and use the business search tool to check if your name is already in use by another company.
Conduct a Kentucky business search online.
Use the Kentucky online business search tool.
The Kentucky SOS website has a business search tool that enables users to search a database of every registered business in the state. New businesses can use this tool to query the availability of their proposed name against businesses that already exist.
Make a list of alternative spellings or similar versions of your proposed name to ensure that your name is entirely new and distinguishable from competitors.
Perform a name search.
Unlike most SOS business search tools, the Kentucky website has no filtering options for refining your query. Regardless, there are ways of remedying this.
The first step is to search the main keyword from your business name (for example, "barber"). This will give you an overview of Kentuckian businesses competing with that word.
The second step is to search for your proposed business name. Try out different variations and spellings of your name to broaden your search.
The search tool will only yield "Active" business names, so if there are no results to show, it's a positive sign. Contact the SOS via telephone to confirm the availability of your proposed business name.
Additional Kentucky business search steps.
Perform trademark searches.
The final step in searching your business name is to run it against both the Kentucky Trademark Database and the United States Patent and Trademark Office's (USPTO) trademark database.
A name that is free to use does not guarantee ownership of intellectual property. Likewise, a name that is free to use in Kentucky might be a trademarked name at the federal level, which can lead to legal trouble in the future. You'll want to ensure that your proposed name passes the USPTO database query too.
Reserve your business name.
You do not need to register your business name immediately. You can choose to reserve it for 120 days before officially claiming it. The cost to reserve a business name is $15.00.
There is no online method for reserving a business name, so you'll need to mail the SOS your application. Download and fill out the "Reservation or Renewal of Reserved Name" form to apply by mail. The mailing address and instructions are on the second page.
Search social media platforms.
You'll want to ensure that the Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter handles for your proposed name is not taken, for the sake of consistency across your marketing channels. Search your proposed name on these platforms and think of creative alternatives should they already be in use.
How do I look up an LLC in Kentucky?
Does it cost anything to do a Kentucky business name search?
Searching a business name in Kentucky is entirely free, although it can cost $15.00 to reserve a name.
How do I find out if a business name is available in Kentucky?
Go to the Kentucky SOS website and do a quick business entity search. Follow that up with a search of the state's trademark database, as well as the United States Patent and Trademark Office's (USPTO) database for existing trademarks at the federal level.
Can you reserve a business name in Kentucky?
Yes. You can apply to reserve a name only by mail. Names can be reserved for 120 days for a fee of $15.00.