What are Delaware's rules for corporate names?

Your filing for incorporation may be delayed if your chosen name violates one of Delaware’s rules. Names of Delaware corporations must (1) be available, (2) contain a corporate suffix, (3) not contain restricted words, and (4) not violate other naming rules in Delaware. Picking a name that follows these rules reduces the chance of delay with your incorporation.

Availability

Your chosen name must be available in Delaware. This means your name must be different enough from the names of other businesses registered in Delaware. For instructions about how to check if your name is available, see How do I find out if a name is available for incorporation in Delaware?.

Corporate Suffix

Your chosen name must contain a corporate suffix, also known as an entity indicator or, on Delaware’s website, an entity ending. Delaware allows the corporate suffixes listed below.

Most Common

  • Corp. / Corp / Corporation
  • Inc. / Inc / Incorporated

Less Common

  • Association
  • Company
  • Club
  • Foundation
  • Fund
  • Institute
  • Limited
  • Society
  • Syndicate
  • Union
  • and abbreviations of any of the above

Punctuation

Your corporate name is acceptable with or without punctuation. For example, it’s up to you whether you insert a comma after your chosen name and before the suffix. If you choose to use an abbreviation, it’s also up to you whether you include a period. For example, both “Corp.” and “Corp” are acceptable.

Be aware that many states may only allow some of the less common corporate suffixes listed above. If you incorporate in Delaware with a less common corporate suffix, you may need to change that suffix when you foreign qualify, depending on a given state’s rules. The most common corporate suffixes (“Corporation”, “Incorporated”, and their abbreviations) are the most widely accepted by other states, and the least likely to cause problems when foreign qualifying.

Restricted Words

The Delaware Division of Corporations restricts certain words from being included in names of corporations. In some cases, Delaware may allow a corporation to use one of these words if they obtain approval from the correct government office or department. For example, you must obtain approval from the Delaware State Bank Commissioner to use the word “bank” (or a similar word) in the name of your Delaware corporation. Similarly, you must obtain approval from the Delaware Department of Education to use the words “college” or “university”.

Examples of restricted words in Delaware:

  • Bank
  • Trust
  • University
  • College
  • Insurance

Other Naming Rules in Delaware

Most startups won’t need to worry about Delaware’s other naming rules unless their desired name could be viewed as controversial. Delaware has rules against corporate names that:

  • discriminate against or disparage any protected classes
  • incite criminal acts, including but not limited to hate crimes, terrorism, drug abuse, fraud, and assault
  • are obscene or libelous
  • are likely to cause public deception or confusion
  • are likely to be misleading

For more information and rules, please see the Delaware Division of Corporation’s Administrative Code.

Did this answer your question? Thanks for the feedback There was a problem submitting your feedback. Please try again later.

Still need help? Contact Us Contact Us