How to Do a Washington Business Search:
Once you have a few name options prepared, you can search for matching and similar business names using a convenient online business search tool. Be sure to search the state and federal trademark databases as well before securing your business name.
Conduct a Washington business search online.
Visit the Washington Secretary of State website.
The Washington Secretary of State (SOS) website features a search tool that can be used to look up businesses and trademarks registered with the state.
Open the advanced business search tool.
Scroll to the "Corporation Search" section on the general business search page and select "Advanced Search" to open the "Advanced Business Search tool."
Select a search type.
The advanced business search tool allows you to adjust the search type in order to get results that start with the same term(s), contain the same term(s), or are an exact match to the term(s) you enter in the search field.
For the purpose of researching similar entity names without limiting the results to a specific starting phrase, use the search type "Contains." To determine if a business is using the exact same name, use the "Exact Match" search type.
Enter and search for your business name.
Enter your chosen business name in the search field next to "Business Name" and click the "Search" button in the bottom right corner of the page. While you can narrow down your search by setting a business type and status filter, it's best to leave this undefined to avoid excluding potentially relevant results.
Start your search with the business name you want to use. If there are no exact or close matches in the results, broaden your search by investigating name variations, such as alternate spellings, to ensure that there are no other business names that may be in conflict with your preferred choice.
Review the search results.
The results page will display business names, along with details, such as business type, registered agent name, and status, that match your search criteria. Click on the "Status" column title to filter the results by their status from "Active" to "Inactive."
Carefully review the list, taking note of similar business names. If the search did not yield any results, repeat the search with a variation of your business name or a different search type.
Additional Washington business search steps.
Perform trademark searches.
Conduct a state and federal trademark search to ensure that you will not infringe on another entity's trademark, as this can lead to serious legal consequences.
Perform a state trademark search using the Trademark Advanced Search tool on the Washington SOS website. Ensure the search type is set to "Contains" to get all relevant results.
Search the United States Patent and Trademark Office's (USPTO) trademark database to search for federal trademarks.
Reserve your business name.
Apply to reserve your business name before another business snaps it up. Do this by completing and filing a Name Reservation form, along with the applicable filing fee, with the Secretary of State.
The filing fee for name reservations is $30.00 for most business entities and $20.00 for nonprofits. The fee for expedited filings is $50.00.
How do I look up an LLC in Washington state?
Visit the Washington Secretary of State website and use the corporation search tool to look up an LLC by name or Unified Business Identifier (UBI).
How do I find out if a business name is available in Washington state?
- Open the business search page on the Washington Secretary of State (SOS) website.
- Select "Advanced Search" next to the "Corporation Search" feature.
- Select a search type and enter your search term.
- Click on "Search."
- Review the results to find out if there are similar business names.
- Repeat the search process with variants of the business name to check for similar business names.
- If the search reveals no name match or similar business names, your name is likely to be available.
- You'll have to file official documentation, such as a name reservation or entity formation documents for official confirmation of availability.
How much does it cost to do a business search in Washington state?
Performing a business search using the search tools provided on the Washington Secretary of State website is free.