Business Names Update

Choosing a name for your business or practice raises important practical and legal issues. The New Jersey Division of Revenue and Enterprise Services (DORES) has updated its guidance on some issues surrounding the name selection for New Jersey entities. Consider the following…


New Jersey law requires a new business name to be different than any other active entity name on file with the state. Fortunately, DORES provides a free, online Name Availability Look-Up Service to determine whether a business name is currently available for use. Consider these points when using the search tool:

  • Searches are case-insensitive and look for exact matches;
  • Corporate designators (e.g., Inc., LLC, etc.) should be omitted from the search;
  • The tool automatically inserts a “wild card” at the end of the search, i.e., a search for, “ABC Carpet Cleaning” will return both “ABC Carpet Cleaning & Installation L.L.C.” and “ABC Carpet Cleaning, LLC”; and
  • Periods, commas, apostrophes, dashes and ampersands can be searched, but a search should omit other punctuation, special characters and diacritics.

Additional guidance…

Although there are few restrictions on names of business entities, DORES guidance enumerates words that should be omitted from searches and that may, in fact, raise the question of permissibility. If availability issues arise that cannot be resolved via its online portal, DORES offers a “paper” application process.

Intellectual property rights (or lack thereof)…

Importantly, the mere fact that a name is “available” for forming a business or professional entity does not guarantee you will have the right to use the name or preclude others from using the name because state “acceptance” or “approval” of a name for formation purposes does not grant any proprietary right to the name. The proprietary right to use a name or preclude others from using the name arises under trade name and trademark law. Thus, someone else may have a superior right to the name despite the fact that you successfully formed an entity in that name.


The State of New Jersey has updated its guidance for selecting business or practice names. Nevertheless, name selection continues to require careful practical and legal analysis. Please feel free to contact me for more information about selecting a name for your business or practice.

Barry F. Gartenberg, L.L.C.
Attorney at Law
505 Morris Avenue, Suite 102
Springfield, New Jersey 07081

DISCLAIMER: This BLOG post is provided solely for the general interest of the reader. It is not legal advice or opinion. Legal advice and opinion are provided by the firm only upon engagement with respect to specific factual situations.