Conducting a preliminary company name search is one of the first steps business owners must take to start a company in Texas. The name chosen for a Texas entity cannot have a similarity to an existing Texas limited partnership, limited liability partnership, corporation or limited liability company. A company in Texas that fails to conduct a preliminary name search may have the company's formation documents rejected if the proposed business name is not distinguishable from an existing Texas business. Furthermore, a company that uses the same name as another Texas entity can get sued for name infringement.
Log onto the Texas Secretary of State's SOS Direct website. The SOS Direct database allows business owners to search by company name, the name of the officer or director, or by the name of the company's registered agent. As of 2011, it costs $1 per search to use the Texas Secretary of State SOS Direct website. The Texas Secretary of State SOS Direct website is available to users 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Call the Texas Secretary of State to conduct a preliminary name availability search over the telephone. Dial 512-463-5555, 711 for relay service. No cost exists to perform a name search with the Texas Secretary of State by telephone.
Email the Texas Secretary of State to search a business name. Send the name inquiry email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Include a contact name and phone number, as well as at least three business names, just in case the first name cannot get used. The Texas Secretary of State does not impose a charge for businesses that conduct a preliminary name search by email.
Research company names by viewing the list of assumed name registrations in the Texas county clerk's office. Unlike corporations, limited partnerships and limited liability companies, sole proprietors and corporations in Texas do not register a business name with the Texas Secretary of State. Instead, Texas partnerships and sole proprietors register an assumed name with the Texas county clerk where the company conducts its affairs.
Log onto the Better Business Bureau website. Input the name of the Texas entity, as well as the city, state and zip code. Information about the business will appear such as the company's, phone number and complaint record. Just because a Texas entity's company name does not appear in the Better Business Bureau database does not mean the name is available for use. It could be that the company has not registered with the Better Business Bureau.