Secretary of the Commonwealth Corporations Division
McCormack Bld., 1 Ashburton Place, 17th Fl., Boston, MA 02108
How to Do a Massachusetts Business Search:
Before you can apply for a name reservation or file formation documents, you will need to ensure that your desired business name is available by performing business entity and trademark searches using the applicable online tools.
Conduct a Massachusetts business search online.
Use the Massachusetts online business search tool.
The Massachusetts 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.
Choose the "Entity Name" tab.
The business search tool can perform four types of searches: by "Entity Name," "Individual Name," "Identification Number," and "Filing Number." Choose "Entity Name" and ignore the rest. Your only task is to find a potential match to your proposed name.
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 search.
The search tool feature allows you to filter your search in four different ways: "Begins with," "Exact Match," "Full Text," or "Soundex."
You'll want to try all of them. The broader your name search, the more chance you have of finding a match. Start by searching only one keyword from your business name (for example, "grocery"). This will give you an overview of Massachusetts businesses competing with that word and how they're named. Remember to try as many variations of your proposed name as possible.
A search that yields no results is a good first sign on the path to confirming the availability of your proposed name.
Additional Massachusetts business search steps.
Perform trademark searches.
The final step in searching your business name is to check it against both the Massachusetts Trademark Search 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 Massachusetts 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 60 days before officially claiming it. The cost to reserve a business name is $30.00.
There is no online method for reserving a business name, so you'll need to mail them your application. Download and fill out the "Application of Reservation of Name" form to apply by mail. The mailing address and instructions are at the top of the page.
Search social media platforms.
You'll want to ensure that the Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter handles for your proposed name are 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 a business in Massachusetts?
Does it cost anything to do a business search in Massachusetts?
No, the service is entirely free.
Can you reserve a business name in Massachusetts?
Yes, you can apply to reserve a name by completing and mailing an application form. Names can be reserved for 60 days for a fee of $30.00.