How do I find out if a name is available in Delaware?
You can find out if a name is available for incorporation in Delaware with the Name Availability Search tool from the Delaware Division of Corporations. Confirming that the name is available helps you avoid potential delays and extra work. If you try to use a name that is already taken, your incorporation could take two or more business days longer.
Be aware that other considerations besides name availability in Delaware may impact your company’s ability to do business under a given name. These additional considerations include (1) other naming rules in Delaware and, if you plan to foreign qualify, (2) naming rules in other states.
How To Use Delaware's Name Availability Search Tool
Go to the Name Availability Search on the Delaware Division of Corporations website.
Select Corporation from the dropdown menu for Entity Kind, select your desired entity ending (also known, in the context of corporations, as a corporate suffix) from the dropdown menu for Entity Ending, and enter your desired name in the Enter Entity Name field.
If the name is not available, the website will let you know you with red text below the Search button.
If the name is available, the website will let you know.
The Delaware website asks users if they want to reserve names that are available. Be aware that reserving a name can introduce delay and increase the expense and complexity of incorporating. Most startup founders do not reserve their desired name.
Once you’ve verified that your desired name is available, you can proceed with your incorporation paperwork on Clerky.
Beware Other Search Tools
The Name Availability Search tool from the Delaware Division of Corporations is the only accurate way to search for name availability in Delaware. The Delaware Division of Corporations doesn’t allow automated access to their records. There are other websites and services that offer a name availability search for Delaware, but their results are unreliable. If a name is unavailable but later becomes available, these other search tools will generally continue to show the name as unavailable. Similarly, they may continue to show a name as available even if it recently became unavailable.
Don't Use Delaware's Business Entity Search
Please note that Delaware also offers a Business Entity Search tool, which is different from their Name Availability Search tool. Their Business Entity Search tool should not be used for name availability. It can be confusing since the Delaware website refers to it as a “General Information Name Search” in some places. But the Business Entity Search tool is for looking up information about both active and inactive entities in Delaware’s database. As a result, this tool may return a result for a name that is actually available, or return no result for a name that is actually unavailable.
There are naming considerations besides availability in Delaware that may be important for your company.
Other Naming Rules in Delaware
The Delaware Division of Corporations might reject your chosen name if it violates any of their naming rules. For example, Delaware restricts the use of certain words in entity names, and forbids names that may mislead the public, cause offense, or incite violence. If your name shows up as available in Delaware’s search tool but you’re worried that it might violate a naming rule, see What are Delaware’s rules for corporate names? for more information.
Naming Rules in Other States
A name that satisfies Delaware’s requirements could still violate rules in other states and present obstacles during foreign qualification. For example, a name that is available in Delaware could be taken in New York. Similarly, words that are allowed in Delaware may be restricted in California. Corporations trying to foreign qualify in a state where their name violates rules may need to pick an alternate name in that state. In rare cases, they may not be able to register at all unless they change their legal name in Delaware.
For more information about naming rules in other states, see How can I find out if a name is available in a given state?.